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Kids urged to 'go wild this winter' and put nature in frame for special competition; Bird feeding stations, hedgehog houses and goodie bags up for grabs in Scottish Wildlife Trust-backed competition

By Hector MacKenzie

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Rosanna Forbes captured the Glenalmond squirrel mascot sniffing the air.
Rosanna Forbes captured the Glenalmond squirrel mascot sniffing the air.

A national photography competition being run with support from the Scottish Wildlife Trust is set to encourage young people and their families to get close to nature this winter.

The aim of the “Go Wild this Winter” competition is to inspire youngsters, aged five to 18, to get a better understanding of the wildlife around them and encourage them to enjoy being outdoors and away from their screens during the winter months.

Sasha Baldwin, eco-group co-ordinator at Glenalmond College, said the school was delighted to be working with the Scottish Wildlife Trust on the initiative. She said the inspiration for the competition had come from seeing pupils at the Perthshire school appreciating the nature around them.

“We know that being outdoors and feeling close to nature is very good for the physical and mental wellbeing of children and whether you are in a city centre or a rural location it is possible for everyone to get closer to wildlife,” said Mrs Baldwin.

“With the restrictions currently in place, many people of all ages are walking more and we hope the competition will encourage them to take the time to really notice and learn about the nature around them,” she added.

The competition is split into four age groups – 5 to 8 year-olds, 9 to 12 year olds, 13 to 15 year-olds and 16 to 18 year-olds. Entries will be judged by Mrs Baldwin along with Karen Chambers, vice-chair of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, professional wildlife photographer, Eric McCabe and amateur wildlife photographer, Rosanna Forbes.

Prizes include bird feeding stations and hedgehog houses for the successful pupils’ schools as well as goodie bags, and the overall senior and junior winner will each receive a year’s membership of the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

The mascot for the initiative is a red squirrel which was photographed in the grounds at Glenalmond by Rosanna Forbes. The deadline for entries is December 11 and during the coming weeks Glenalmond College will be issuing hints and tips - using the hashtag #gowildthiswinter from the Scottish Wildlife Trust to guide young people on how to help wildlife during the winter months.

This winter’s competition follows on from last year’s initiative which saw Glenalmond College produce a calendar of wildlife photographs taken by Rosanna Forbes which raised funds for the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Saving Scotland’s red squirrels.

Full information on how to enter - along with tips and advice and terms and conditions - is available at www.glenalmondcollege.co.uk.

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