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The newly appointed Environment Secretary, Mairi Gougeon MSP, has wasted no time in getting on with the job. Today she announced funding of £600,000 which will be used by groups and organisations across Scotland for outdoor learning programmes.

Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon MSP and Chair of SNH Mike Cantlay with Eliza who was attending an art camp at Jupiter Artland.

Speaking at Jupiter Artland she explained that the money would be put to good use by organisations including two in Edinburgh, one of which is Jupiter Artland itself where they spend a lot of time teaching outside.

The other Green Angels is run by The Green Team (Edinburgh and Lothians Ltd) who offer a variety of outdoor programmes to suit different requirements.

Their website explains : “Some are run for individuals to book on to as part of their Duke of Edinburgh or John Muir Award; others are run directly with one school group or by referral for young people who are disengaged with school or have difficult family situations.”

The new Outdoor Learning in Nature Fund is administered by Scottish Natural Heritage and will last for two years. All of the projects allow children at school and nursery stage from deprived areas to spend time in nature.

Children enjoying the outdoor art class with Jupiter Artland staff

Young people from 3-26 from some of the most deprived areas will experience all the benefits of being outside, some of them perhaps for the first time.

Mrs Gougeon helped children at Jupiter Artland make ‘paintbrushes’ from ferns and sticks before painting with them. We spoke to the Minister, the Chair of Scottish Natural Heritage and the Head of Learning at Jupiter Artland about what the funding will mean :