New travel bursary scheme removes barriers to nature at Highland Wildlife Park

Posted 20 Jun 2023 in Edinburgh Zoo

Community group with ranger Stuart at Highland Wildlife Park pond

Local building company, Simpson Builders of Beauly, have partnered with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) to enable more people to connect with nature by providing an opportunity for local community groups and schools to apply for free travel to Highland Wildlife Park.

The new bursary scheme with the wildlife conservation charity will support groups and schools in the Highlands to overcome financial and geographical barriers to visiting the park and experiencing the health and wellbeing benefits of being close to nature.

Sponsored by Simpsons, the travel bursary scheme will offer free transport with complimentary entry and a learning session provided by RZSS, with the aim of making an inspirational and exciting visit more accessible.

Gordon Simpson, Simpson Builders of Beauly said: “We are delighted to have partnered with RZSS to give the local community groups and schools the support they need to provide an exciting and educational trip.

“Our local school have expressed how grateful they are to receive this support as they would simply not be possible to fund the trip otherwise. We are thrilled to allow the children the opportunity to benefit from this fantastic experience for their Health, Wellbeing along with the educational benefits.”

Beccy Angus, Head of Discovery and Learning at RZSS, said: “Greater access to nature can be incredibly beneficial for everyone! We are delighted to have support from Simpsons to help community groups and schools in the Highlands who currently face barriers such as geographic isolation to form closer connections with wildlife and nature. This initiative will inspire and engage even more people to help protect threatened species in Scotland and around the world.

“Our charity has pledged to empower more than 100 communities to better protect nature by 2030. Ensuring as many people as possible have these opportunities for experiences in nature is a critical first step in encouraging people to protect, value and love the natural world around them.”

Simpsons of Beauly and RZSS have begun to reach out to eligible community groups and schools in the with information about how to apply for funding from the pilot project.

The partnership comes as Simpsons continue building work on Scotland’s Wildlife Discovery Centre at Highland Wildlife Park, an £8m project that will inspire local and global audiences in the Cairngorms National Park to protect nature at a time when the world is facing a biodiversity crisis.