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Caithness News Bulletins March 2004

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Caithness Critters    

A Caithness based children's nature group, organised by The Highland Council’s Planning and Development Service Rangers are the winners of the Scottish Wildlife Watch Group of the Year Competition for 2003

 The group, 'Caithness Critters', won the Scottish Wildlife Trust competition which celebrates the achievements of Watch Groups around the UK and encourages the groups to keep a diary or yearbook of their activities through out the year.

The 'Caithness Critters', organised through Highland Council’s Rangers is a club for children aged 8 - 14 with an interest in wildlife.  The group meets every month to explore the great outdoors and learn about the wonders of nature.  Events take many different forms and over the past year have included forest treasure hunts, rock pool rummages, bat walks, gold panning, bird cake making and mini beast safaris.

Marina Finlayson, 'Caithness Critter' leader and East Caithness Ranger said: "It is important to introduce wildlife and nature to children at an early age and get them out there to see it for themselves first hand. The children's enthusiasm for the watch group is wonderful.

“The Caithness group particularly impressed the judges with their beach clean and fossil hunt and what was thought to be a first for the competition 'panning for gold'.”

Helen Freeston, The Wildlife Trusts' People and Wildlife Manager and a competition judge said: "This year the Wildlife Watch competition drew entries from as far apart as Somerset and Suffolk, Hampshire and Caithness, with a variety of age groups and activities.  The competition is our way of encouraging, recognising and regarding all those local Watch groups who do so much to engage their own communities.”

The Critters have received a signed certificate from David Bellamy, the Wildlife Watch President,  and are in the process of organising a fun packed spring time programme.