Youth Rangers help tackle climate change with research on Saddleworth moors

A TEAM of environmentally friendly young people are helping to tackle climate change by carrying out research on the Saddleworth Moors.

Almost 20 Dovestone Youth Rangers and their leader Greg Cookson made the trip up to Wessenden for the two-hour session.

Jo Hanney, from the Peak District National Park Authority’s Learning and Discovery Team, kickstarted the afternoon by presenting the hard-working group with a Highly Commended ‘UK Group of the Year’ certificate from their Volunteer Awards 2014.

The team clinched the honour for their work at Dovestone Reservoir in Greenfield, where they are digging ponds, dam building, planting trees and making bird and bat boxes.

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The Dovestone Youth Rangers with their certificate

Now they have turned their attention to climate change as part of the eighth annual Moorlands as Indicators of Climate Change Initiative.

Along with around 100 schools and groups, they were assigned a section of moorland in which to conduct experiments investigating the impact of human activities and the moorland’s potential to help tackle climate change.

Their fieldwork included looking at vegetation cover, measuring the water table, examining depth of the peat and recording PH levels.

Youth Ranger Lily McGuinness, 16, said: “I have been really looking forward to it as it is sort of thing I want to go into when I leave school.

“We don’t get many chances to do something like this so it is a great opportunity.”

Group leader Greg added: “It is a fantastic project for them to get involved with and they really enjoyed it.”

The research will help the Moors for the Future Partnership, which is carrying out large-scale restoration of moorlands through re-wetting the peat and regenerating vegetation.

Co-ordinator Chris Robinson, of the Peak District National Park Authority’s learning and discovery team, explained: “This is an innovative project involving young people in investigating peat moorlands’ potential to help tackle climate change.

“Healthy peat moorlands could retain more carbon than all the forests in the UK and France combined. But centuries of human activities have damaged it.”

For more information or to join the Dovestone Rangers call Greg Cookson on: 07810 552139.

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