This summer on Islay weâ€™re seeing an innovative new project - Comunn na GÃ idhlig are coordinating a project involving 5 high schools in the Highlands and Islands where, for the first time ever, pupils can gain a John Muir Award in Gaelic. 4 Islay High School pupils have been working on this since the beginning of the year, focussing on Loch Gruinart as their â€˜wild placeâ€™, an area known both for its abundant wildlife and its fascinating history. The John Muir Trust has been offering these Awards since 1997. Theyâ€™re designed to involve fun and adventure, with creative ways of exploring, understanding and conserving our environment, encouraging teamwork and sharing. Itâ€™s a great way of exploring the outdoors, being creative, building confidence and teamwork.
Lauren MacGregor, Caitlin Marrion, Heather Hope and Mairi McGillivray are working together with staff at the RSPB reserve at Gruinart, and Morvern McPhee of Islay High School is mentoring and providing language support. They will each work towards giving a guided tour for Gaelic medium families on Islay before meeting up with students from high schools in Portree, Inverness, Mallaig and Ardnamurchan at a 3-day residential at Tulloch near Roy Bridge in June. Continue reading...
The focus of the conservation project is the corncrake, and the school team have been looking at the best conditions for nesting, and the ecosystem as a whole: fields, trees, plants, animals, farming and bats! And the importance of reporting hearing the distinctive call of the corncrake for monitoring numbers in different areas. As well as being a beautiful nature reserve with abundant bird and wildlife, Gruinartâ€™s history is significant for Islay as itâ€™s the site of the famous clan battle fought between the MacDonalds and the MacLeans. The story of the battle is the stuff of local myth and legend, inspiring the admired William Livingstone poem. Itâ€™s an opportunity for young people to develop their use of Gaelic at a site thatâ€™s significant both in Islayâ€™s history and vital in developing todayâ€™s environment.
Gun robh math agaibh - thanks to Argyll and Bute Council, Comann nam PÃ rant, Ionad Chaluim Chille ÃŒle and to the team at the RSPB for their input so far. For more information on the John Muir Award in Gaelic and other activities supported by Iomairt GhÃ idhlig ÃŒle `s DhiÃ¹ra contact local development officer Lynn MacDonald on 810297 or by email - tha sinn a coimhead air adhart ri cluintinn bhuaibh.