Thursday, 20 November 2014

Wild Scotland Guest Blog - Ewan Miles

The Wild Scotland conference in Perth will be held on the 26th November 2014 and this event brings together people working in the wildlife tourism sector to share ideas and learn new ways to enhance their business in a highly dynamic industry. Workshops and guest speakers aim to inspire you to improve your existing business or start-up as a new operator. 

At this time of the year a lot of our species like geese, waders and passerines will flock together in large groups as 'strength in numbers' can help decrease the chance of predation for individuals and also increase their chance of finding food source, benefiting the species as a whole. What a great chance for tourism operators to do the same at this time of the year by performing a communal gathering and benefiting themselves and their company through engaging with fellow professionals and working together to survive and to thrive in the sector. Just like all ecosystems rely on the interconnections to make it complete, I think an integral part for tourism operators is engaging with related businesses, attending workshops and corporate events to help evolve your business and it could be the missing link to your set-up. 

Working together for everyone's benefit

Visitor spending in Scotland is around 4 billion pounds annually and 1.4 billion of that is nature-based spending which works out at 40% of all tourism spending in the country. This means that anyone working in the industry has an important role to play in representing the country in a large part of its economy. By attending events like the Wild Scotland Industry Conference it can help you reach these high levels and keep up with the rising standards in the 21st century. 

Sustainable wildlife and adventure tourism can be achieved for the benefit of businesses, wildlife, customers and our natural heritage.
One of the benefits of joining Wild Scotland is to strengthen your marketing and advertising reach through the website, E-Newsletter and social media pages. Business support is also available for members through workshops and an on-line members section on the website. Wild Scotland is increasing its membership tally and on a broader spectrum this represents Scotland's outdoor tourism sector in a positive manner with a large variety of different operators available, showing a sign of a healthy expanding industry. 

Below is a list of the guest speakers and workshops which will take place at the annual Wild Scotland Industry Conference on the 26th November 2014. I hope to see you there! 

  • Fantastic speaker line-up with an International guest speaker and internationally-recognised British Paralympian and Adventurer, Karen Darke.

  • Chance for industry to input to the national Adventure Tourism research exercise that has been commissioned by  Highlands and Islands Enterprise in partnership with VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Tourism Alliance and Scottish Development International.

  • A wide range of workshops including ‘Professionalising the Sector’.  We have included this workshop as Wild Scotland has been commissioned to develop the existing Wilderness Guide Training scheme into a full-blown structured accredited Art of Guiding Programme. As Wild Scotland is at the start of the development process, industry input into the structure and focus of the Programme is invaluable!

  • Leading into the Year of Food and Drink, we will also have a few success stories of businesses which have incorporated Scottish food & drink into their current package and have seen bottom line results of giving visitors a quality food and drink experience.

Book Now: http://www.wild-scotland.org.uk/about-us/wild-scotland-annual-industry-conference-2014/

Join Now: http://www.wild-scotland.org.uk/about-us/join-us/ 

Ewan Miles

5 Excellent Environmental & Adventure Education Opportunities

If you would like to learn more about the environment we live in and develop new skills or you have thought about studying an environmental or adventure subject at higher education level, then you might be surprised at the number of fantastic opportunities that are available right here in Scotland. From community organisations, to environmental education charities and universities, there are lots of great ways to learn more about the environment, nature, the outdoors and the adventure industry. Read on to find out how you could learn something new.

1. Brush up on your natural history knowledge at Blairgowrie

The Field Studies Council’s Kindrogan Field Centre (LINK: http://www.wild-scotland.org.uk/member/56/kindrogan-field-centre) not only offers a fantastic outdoor learning base for schools, universities and professional development, but it also offers a huge range of natural history courses for individuals and families, covering the countryside, its wildlife and the environment. From courses on Astronomy and Aquatic Plants to Small Mammals and Special Spring Moths, there really is something to suit all interests. Find out more here. (LINK:  http://www.field-studies-council.org/centres/scotland/kindrogan/lesiurelearning/natural-history-courses.aspx)

2. Learn more about the Wildlife of Kailzie

If you live in the Scottish Borders and would like to learn more about the wildlife and environment around you, then you might consider joining the Friends of Kailzie Wildlife Group (LINK: http://www.wild-scotland.org.uk/member/193/friends-of-kailzie-wildlife). At the community organisation’s centre just outside the beautiful gardens at Kailzie, they have created wildlife interpretation throughout the gardens and surrounding land including a signal post trail and bird call sound boxes. Not only that, but they have a Project Officer on hand to provide environmental education to local schools, community groups or even private groups on request – why not give them a shout. Find out more here (LINK: http://www.kailziewildlife.org/)

3. Study higher environmental education

Still thinking about that environmental degree or masters you’ve always wanted to do?  If so, Edinburgh Napier University might have just what you’re looking for. This innovative and professional university offers a wide range of degree and post-graduate level courses in environmental subjects including Animal Biology, Ecotourism, Wildlife Biology and Conservation and Conservation and Management of Protected Areas.  Visit their website to find a course to suit you

4. Have a wild weekend on the Moray Coast

If you’ve ever wanted to unleash your inner Bear Grylls by foraging for food, lighting fires and learning bushcraft skills, then a Wild things! Wild Escape could be for you.  This environmental education charity offers a variety of courses teaching all manner of new skills to suit everyone, from families, to individual women and fathers and sons.  Find out what they have to offer here.  

5. Attend the School of Adventure Studies

The West Highland College UHI - School of Adventure Studies is located in one of the finest UK locations for adventure tourism, with natural heritage, culture, marvellous landscapes and seascapes, creating a playground of world-renowned rivers that flow from some of Scotland's greatest mountains to the sea.  With courses from School Link up to Post Graduate level, including our new MSc in Ecotourism, you can immerse yourself in all things adventure in this beautiful part of Scotland.  Find out more about the school here.