Gold award hunt for Kirsty

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Rather than spending her time playing video-games or watching television after school, one Rathen youngster is well on her way to making a difference by getting involved with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Kirsty McLeod, at 7-years-old, is one of the younger members of the RSPB Wildlife Explorers, but that has not prevented her from excelling through the first two Wildlife Action Awards, already achieving her bronze and silver certificates.

The RSPB Wildlife Action Awards are an award scheme that aims to help children learn about wildlife through practical activities.

With 33 different tasks in the award scheme over four sections, the children involved are encouraged to do as many as they can to find out which animals live near them, help local wildlife, be environmentally friendly, and spread the word about the programme.

Kirsty’s mother, Sandra McLeod, invited the Fraserburgh Herald to their home to learn more about the RSPB Wildlife Explorers and to find out how Kirsty was getting on with her latest award challenge.

There, we found that each Wildlife Explorer must complete six tasks - at least one in each of the four sections - to progress through the scheme.

These tasks include completing surveys of local flora, counting butterflies and moths, creating feeders for birds, walking or taking a bus rather than driving, and raising funds for the charity.

Sandra McLeod told us of how Kirsty has already been awarded her bronze and silver awards, Kirsty showing us the certificates proudly. In order to achieve both of them, we learned how she had made a bird feeder out of cooking fat for birds, and had, just last month, made ‘pastry maggots’.

Hesitant to ask just what a pastry maggot was, we were kindly informed that it did not involve any maggots.

Kirsty, as we discovered, came to find out about the Wildlife Explorers during the summer, taking part in various activities and becoming involved with the RSPB.

With the gold award the highest Kirsty can achieve at this level, the youngster is hoping to move on to the teenagers Phoenix Group when she is old enough.

Asked if she enjoyed wildlife and being part of the Wildlife Explorers, Kirsty smiled and nodded.

Performing well for her age group, Kirsty is hoping to soon complete her gold award and add it to what will no doubt become an ever expanding collection.

The RSPB Wildlife Explorers meet once a month to complete activities as a group.

This month, Kirsty and other explorers will take part in a national survey for wrecks and beach-comb.

To find out more about the RSPB, please visit www.rspb.org.uk.