Volunteer raises cash for educational programmes at Montrose Basin Visitor Centre

Walker Daniel Moonen is pictured with Alison O'Hara at the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre and Wildlife Reserve
Walker Daniel Moonen is pictured with Alison O'Hara at the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre and Wildlife Reserve

Wildlife worker Daniel Moonen has just completed a sponsored walk, guaranteeing at least 200 free places at the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre’s schools education programme, following in the footsteps of famed naturalist John Muir.

A keen walker, Daniel tramped 175 miles in 12 consecutive days on his fund-raising venture. He started out in Helensburgh and followed the recently created John Muir Way to Berwick-Upon-Tweed, before completing his route on the Berwickshire Coastal Path.

He told us: “I really enjoyed the experience, many people came up to wish me well and I’d like to express my gratitude to everyone who gave me a donation.

“I only had one bad day, when my knees started to hurt and the weather was awful, cold and with the horizontal rain you only seem to get in Scotland!”

Daniel’s epic trek has raised nearly £800 and the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Alison O’Hara, who organises educational programmes at the Basin, explained just what the money would be used for.

She said: “We have a very much activity-based schools education programme here at the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre and Wildlife Reserve, as it’s important to learn beyond the classroom.

“For example, we have a thing called mud studies, where the children can sieve the mud for the creatures it contains, such as ragworms, crabs and sea slaters, and thereby they learn about the types of things the birds are feeding on. This stresses how connected the whole ecosystem is and helps children recognise the importance of the environment, so they will protect it in the future.”

With infectious enthusiasm, Alison continued: “We have carried out 3,388 formal and informal education programmes in the past calendar year and Daniel’s effort has ensured at least 200 free school places have now become available, something which is particularly helpful to schools that find transport costs a problem and keeps them from visiting.”

For anyone wanting to take advantage of one of these places, please contact Alison directly, on 01674 676336. It is also still possible to contribute to Daniel’s cause by visiting www.justgiving.com/educationalprogrammes/