Ranger Laura wins top national award

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AN EAST Lothian Countryside Ranger has become just the second person in Scotland to scoop a prestigious national award honouring her for her work in the environment.

Laura Douglas was given the Scottish Ranger Award after impressing members of the Scottish Countryside Rangers Association (SCRA) in her work including the conservation grazing Exmoor pony project at Barns Ness.

The award, presented to those who successfully complete the SCRA training programme, focuses on candidate’s competencies including habitat management, outdoor learning and interpreting natural and cultural heritage.

Laura, who covers the Dunbar East area, revealed she was “delighted” at being given the honour and said she wanted to use it to help her future work in the field.

She added: “I have been a Countryside Ranger now for over 12 years and thoroughly enjoy my job.”

“It’s great working outdoors and getting to help look after the beautiful East Lothian countryside and its wildlife.

“In particular I like working with children and getting them enthused about the wildlife on their doorstep and how they can look after it, as well as working with volunteers on conservation tasks.”

The East Lothian Ranger Service is among the oldest in Scotland, having been in place since 1970 and assists in the management of East Lothian’s countryside by ensuring effective management of East Lothian Council controlled sites which have potential for leisure, recreation or natural conservation.

Dr Roger Powell, the Senior Countryside Ranger of East Lothian praised Laura’s award as a “fantastic achievement” and said she was setting the standard for Rangers across the country. He said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Laura, who has worked hard to develop and submit her portfolio.”

“She clearly represents the high degree of professionalism found in Countryside Rangers across Scotland.

“We are extremely proud that an East Lothian Countryside Ranger is one of the first to achieve this award, coming as she does, from one of the oldest established Ranger Services in Scotland.”

The Scottish Ranger Award has been running since 2012, when Dundee City Council Ranger Alison Cairnie was presented with the prize by then-environment minister Stewart Stevenson MSP.

Eamon John, Manager Sport, Countryside and Leisure at East Lothian Council said: “Few Rangers achieve this as it is very challenging.”

“It’s not surprising though, given the standards she sets in looking after East Lothia’s countryside.”

He added: “Laura has done exceedingly well in balancing a busy workload with the award, while helping to spur on her colleagues to gain the award.”