FENDING off an alien invasion was all in a day’s work for pupils at Ben Wyvis Primary last week as they rolled up their sleeves and helped launch a £3.34 million initiative at a local beauty spot close to their classroom.
On the banks of the River Conon, they helped pull out the invasive non-native Himalayan balsam plant which spreads rapidly and chokes wildflowers.
The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative is being led by Scottish Natural Heritage to tackle alien species.
Lynn McKelvey, Cromarty Firth Fishery Board project officer, said: "Here at Garrie Island, in the River Conon, we have fantastic wet alder woodland, which is designated as being important at both a UK and European level.
"However, the woodland habitat has been under threat from invasive species, particularly Himalayan balsam, which spreads so quickly growing in dense stands, meaning no native wildflowers can grow."
Head teacher Tania Mackie said: "Outdoor learning is fundamental to the curriculum at Ben Wyvis Primary School, as is working with local partners.
"We are delighted to be working with Cromarty Firth Fishery Board and the SISI project.
"Not only are the children being supported by experts, but the pupils of Ben Wyvis Primary are also learning about their local environment.
"Learning in context is a valuable experience for all our young people and as a school we are encouraging our young people to step beyond the classroom, whilst developing the young workforce".
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham praised volunteers for the vital role they play in the initiative.