FIFTY students from around the Highlands and Islands will be gathering at the Cairngorms National Park in Carrbridge this week for a conference on integrated land use.
The students, who are studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands, are on a variety of land-related courses including forestry, gamekeeping, agriculture, sustainable mountain development, environmental science and sustainable rural development.
Over the course of the two day event, the students will visit the Dalnahaitnach estate, work on team projects and hear presentations from a number of experts. The guest speakers will cover topics as diverse as peatlands, sustainable deer management and river systems.
Dr Sue Engstrand, subject network leader for environment and rural resource management at the university, explains why it is important for students from a range of land-related disciplines to meet:
“To get the best from our land, our future land managers will need to work together with people from a variety of different backgrounds, with different interests and sometimes different values, focussing on common goals to deliver multiple benefits to our communities. This conference brings together students from nine different courses, working together with experts, to understand the challenges and opportunities for managing our land in the future. Working across traditional boundaries is a key theme of this conference and we hope it will prepare our students well for their future roles.”
The event, which takes place on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 March, is being organised by the University of the Highlands and Islands, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Cairngorms National Park Authority. It is the second annual integrated land use conference for University of the Highlands and Islands students.
Feedback from last years’ conference suggested that employers thought it was an innovative approach to training the land managers of the future, while students enjoyed learning about new topics and networking with students across the university partnership.
Stewart Blair, RSPB Scotland’s upland advisory officer, said: “We are delighted to be participating in the conference. The students who are attending will be the land managers of tomorrow and we will be looking to them to help conservation bodies like the RSPB protect our most important wildlife habitats. We can only be successful if we look at landscape-scale measures and that requires us all to work together. Who knows, perhaps some of the students will go on to help manage some of the RSPB’s own reserves in the Highlands and Islands in the future.”
You can find out more about the University of the Highlands and Islands land-based subjects at www.uhi.ac.uk
Notes to editors
The University of the Highlands and Islands comprises thirteen further and higher education colleges, specialist colleges and research institutions, distributed throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. They are bound together through constitutional, management and academic structures, and co-ordinated through an executive office. Collectively, this is referred to as the UHI partnership.
There are currently over 7500 students studying on undergraduate and postgraduate courses or undertaking postgraduate research with the University.
The University of the Highlands and Islands is the only university with campuses and headquarters based in the Highlands and Islands. Its mission is to strengthen and develop the social, economic and cultural prospects of the region. It uses a blend of learning methods, including traditional classroom face-to-face teaching, video-conferencing tutorials and lectures and virtual learning environments and other IT media.
The University of the Highlands and Islands is a limited company registered in Scotland No. 148203. Scottish charity No. SC022228. Registered office: 12B, Ness Walk, Inverness, IV3 5SQ.
The Cairngorms National Park was established in 2003. It is the UK’s largest national park at 4,528sq km. The Park has four aims: to conserve and enhance the area’s natural and cultural heritage; promote sustainable use of the Park’s natural resources; promoting understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the Park; and to promote sustainable economic and social development of local communities.
The CNPA was set up to ensure that the unique aspects of the Cairngorms – both the natural environment and the local communities – are cared for, sustained and enhanced for current and future generations to enjoy. The CNPA provides leadership to all those involved in the Cairngorms and works in partnership with a range of communities, businesses, non government organisations and public sector partners to deliver practical solutions on the ground.