Scouts is not only a youth organisation that helps young people develop their real-life skills, but its activities also have a direct impact in local communities.

On Sunday 22nd January, a group of Hoosiders Explorers from Eden visited South Walney Nature Reserve as part of their Environment Project. The excursion involved getting a tour of the reserve, setting up trail cameras and doing a beach clean. The Explorers had the chance to learn more about the wildlife on the island and even had a curious seal pop up out of the water close to the Explorers to see what was going on! 

Throughout the day, the Explorers walked the length of the reserve, occasionally stopping to listen to the resident Ranger provide information about particular wildlife or habits. They were able to set up a trail camera (a camouflaged, movement-sensitive camera used to discreetly capture footage of animals) in a place where an otter is suspected to regularly visit. The Explorers also stopped off at various hides across the reserve, all the while using binoculars or scopes to spot different birds and mammals, including the only permanent seal colony in Cumbria. After lunch, they headed off to the beach to pick up as much litter as they could find and ended up filling 8 bags with the rubbish that they had collected. 

The main aim of the Environment Day was to experience an unfamiliar terrain and learn about how the wildlife and habitats of the area differ to those that the Explorers are used to. Coming from North-East Cumbria, the Hoosiders live among the more stereotypical Lake District environments; those of lakes, mountains and wooded areas. With no trees, South Walney Nature Reserve is vastly different to Eden with its marshland, long beaches and coastal landscape. This day also helped many of the Explorers to work towards their Top Awards in Scouts, such as the Chief Scout's Platinum and Diamond Awards, as well as the Queen's (soon to be King's) Scout Award.

When asked what he thought of the experience, Connor, the Explorer who organised and ran this event, said: "I enjoyed seeing all the seals and the varied range of birds. It was good to discover a wider range of habitats and also the beach clean was a great way for the Explorers to become more aware of the issues facing the planet - it was a sobering reminder of the reality of the world we live in.” 

Hoosiders Explorers also have several more events coming up that tie into the Environment Project, such as a Tree Planting Day and a Coppicing Day with Keswick Explorers and a second Environment Day at RSPB Leighton Moss.