LISTEN: Julia Duncan shares her time as a ranger with Atholl Estates
Blair Castle and Atholl Estates’ ranger Julia Duncan is encouraging the next generation to step up to conserving Highland Perthshire’s countryside.
She’s sharing her experience working on the 145,000-acre Atholl Estate with the varied day to day activities she does to protect the environment and help enthusiast make the most of the outdoors.
Julia Duncan explained: “We’ve certainly seen – and appreciated – the sudden increase in interest from the public in the countryside and the wildlife around us.
“Our estate is beautiful, and I think my main role as a ranger is to speak to people about how they can build a connection with nature, not just now, but also for the future.”
Julia is working with the leading accreditation body, Lantra, to encourage more people into the sector with the rising pressures of the outdoors during the pandemic.
Kevin Patrick of Lantra said: “To bring more people into the profession, we need role models who can bring diverse skills and fresh ideas to traditional roles and who can highlight how rewarding a career as a ranger actually is.
“That includes young people, who are the future guardians of Scotland’s natural environment, and who have also been hit badly in employment terms by the pandemic. They need opportunities – and we need them.”
Julia got involved in conservation later in her career after volunteering and eventually taking the next step as a mature student.
When it comes to finding a way to get started in conservation, she said: “I would say the best place to start is to do some volunteering. So contact your local ranger service or any conservation, charity, or organization in your area and go and get stuck in with them.
“And from there, you’ll get a feel for what kind of jobs that you like doing, what aspects you like about it and go from there.”
Julia added: “Highland Perthshire is one of my favourite parts of Scotland and I feel privileged to live and work on the Atholl Estates. I absolutely love my job and there’s nothing else I would rather be doing.”