All aboard for wildlife bus

Clydesdale Bank has joins with Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) to deliver a new educational outreach programme

Focusing on Scottish native species, the ‘Wild about Scotland’ programme will be taught over the next year to P6 and P7 children across Scotland’s 32 local authorities on a specially adapted double-decker bus.

The programme has been made possible by the Bank’s partnership with RZSS – the biggest corporate partnership in the charity’s history. The package has thus far helped transform a bus donated by Stagecoach into the ‘Wild about Scotland’ mobile classroom. 

The customised double-decker now has the capacity to accommodate interactive, onboard wildlife lessons for up to 26 children at once, which will be delivered by a dedicated education team from RZSS. 

The partnership will also provide the necessary support for the delivery of the programme as the RZSS outreach education team travels across Scotland to deliver lessons to as many schools as possible. Part of the package also includes a significant donation to RZSS’s conservation aims for endangered species. 

Lessons will focus on Scotland’s native species’ including the Scottish wildcat – also known as the ‘Highland Tiger’ – as well as their habitats and environments. The ‘Wild about Scotland’ programme aims to engage a younger generation with Scotland’s wildlife – not just in forests or wild areas of Scotland, but also in their own back gardens. 

Lessons will cover the following topics: 

  • ‘Minibeasts’ – Looking at the huge diversity of insects on earth and the variety which can be found in the local area.
  • Highland Tiger’ – Raising awareness of the Scottish wildcat plight and what pupils can do to help preserve the species.
  • ‘Beavers’ – Looking at whether the beaver should be reintroduced back in to Scotland and the effect reintroducing a species can have on an ecosystem. 

The partnership comes as part of Clydesdale Bank’s wider ongoing commitment to supporting local communities across Scotland. Along with the ‘Wild about Scotland’ education programme, the partnership will facilitate a number of charity visits to Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park with groups such as the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS).

Helen Page, Customer Experience and Marketing Director at Clydesdale Bank, said: “RZSS makes a vital contribution to the conservation of Scotland’s wildlife through both direct preservation and through their commitment to educating the public on endangered species, habitats and ecosystems.

“We’re proud to be joining forces with RZSS to help deliver this educational programme. Our financial support will enable them to bring the ‘Wild about Scotland’ programme to young people right across the country, especially to communities that may not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with the expertise from RZSS on Scottish conservation.”

Chris West, CEO of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “We are delighted to announce this significant partnership with Clydesdale Bank. Conservation through education is one of the founding principles behind the Society and remains one of our key goals to this day.

“We believe connecting young people to the natural world is vital and the ‘Wild about Scotland’ outreach programme will further add to the curriculum-based learning delivered each year by the Society. Importantly, now more than ever, preserving and learning about the huge variety of wildlife living in Scotland and how children may help make a difference in the conservation of that wildlife, is of huge worth.”

Pupils at St. Paul’s Primary School in Whiteinch in Glasgow had the first chance to explore the bus and experience the wildlife lessons from the ‘Wild about Scotland’ team. The visit marked the first of many visits to schools in Scotland over the next 12 months.

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