Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Highland Wildlife Park Wins Lottery Funding

Highland Wildlife Park Wins Lottery Funding

The Highland Wildlife Park, Kingussie, which is owned and operated by the conservation charity the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, is delighted to have won funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The funding of £51,700 will go towards a redevelopment and engagement project to enhance the Park’s infrastructure, interpretation and education.
A 350 metre long raised walking platform will be created from the Park’s entrance through the front drive-through reserve. Currently only accessible by vehicle, this significant extensive high level walkway will give cyclists and walkers direct access to the Park without the need to arrive by car. The Park’s 2,100 metre network of footpaths across the 200 acre site will also be enhanced and disabled access will be improved.  
The visitor experience will be taken to the next level with new engaging interpretation developed throughout the Park and improved directional signage. Part of the new interpretation will include an audio digital learning guide for visitors to use during their drive-through experience. Gaelic language translation on on-site interpretation, online and on educational material will also increase links with the Park’s Scottish heritage.
The development of a sustainable volunteer guide and education programme will also feature. By the end of 2013 the Park will have in place a robust recruitment and training programme for a team of volunteers who will work at key areas of the Park. Forming part of the RZSS’s education mission, this will ensure visitors gain a better understanding of the Park’s, and of the Cairngorm’s, conservation issues. This programme will also provide opportunities to local people, potentially students and the long term unemployed, to gain new skills.
Educationally, learning packs will be created, both online and in hard copy, for use within the local schools and community groups, will deliver key conservation messages with the aim of inspiring the younger generation to be involved in Scottish and global conservation work.
Finally, the Scottish wildcat facility will be expanded.                             
Daska Mackintosh, Visitor Services Manager for the Highland Wildlife Park, said:“The Highland Wildlife Park is delighted to be awarded this money from the Heritage Lottery Fund and we thank them for their support. As a totally unfunded conservation charity, these funds will allow RZSS to help reconnect and educate a greater number of individuals with the wonders of nature - one of the key missions of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. The money will be put towards creating greater accessibility within the Park and enhancing educational resource, both onsite through interpretation and volunteer engagement, and in the wider community by learning packs. We are truly thrilled and look forward to seeing the results of the kind donation.”

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland said:
“The Heritage Lottery Fund is pleased to support a project which will help to stimulate people’s interest in nature. The new signage and redevelopment of the Highland Wildlife Park will allow more people to learn about the value of Scotland’s wildlife while volunteers and visitors alike will be able to play their part as custodians of our wonderful natural heritage. HLF is delighted to be able to help people connect with the natural world.”

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