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ABOUT CLS

 

Based in Perthshire, we are an education charity formed in 2003 to meet the need for outdoor learning in primarily secondary schools. 

We  provide a variety of educational, training and career opportunities for people within Scotland’s countryside. We encompass all areas of the countryside, from recreation to traditional land uses, helping to sustain Scotland’s countryside through education. We do this by increasing awareness in schools with teachers, who through training become our  'countryside champions'. For young people we do this through outdoor learning in schools, through outdoor learning 'away days' and through more in depth  residential's.

 

We are passionate about sustaining a thriving countryside and take pride in opening up the countryside opportunities to all, nurturing our future countryside custodians.

 

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Our Team 

Meet the People Behind the Work

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IAN ROBERTSON

Executive Director

Ian is passionate about creating informed access to the countryside.
Ian qualified from Jordanhill College of Physical Education where he studied sport in the community and was then involved with Scottish Rugby for 12 years as player, coach and development officer. Ian then moved to project manage the Scottish National Angling Programme followed by a spell managing the Country Sports Tourism Group. Before taking on his role as Executive Director of CLS Ian spent 4 years as wildlife manager at Pitcarmick estate. Here he 
created a rural environment where recreational activity, volunteering opportunities, rural livelihoods, and traditional land uses can live in harmony through better education and understanding.

 

Contact Ian:

ian@countrysidelearningscotland.org.uk

Tors Hamilton
Regional  Coordinator/Administrator 

Tors is delivering the Pathways to Rural
Work Programme as a Regional Coordinator in Tayside.  Tors’ background was originally in education, as a qualified Geography teacher in secondary schools in Scotland.  Working for the Field Studies Council for over 10 years allowed Tors to share her passion about the natural environment and being outside with a wide range of ages from toddlers to adults.  When not working, Tors can usually be found outside hillwalking or swimming.

Contact Tors:

Tors@countrysidelearningscotland.org.uk

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David Ritchie

Education Consultant

 

David comes from a farming background and holds an honors degree in Agricultural Animal Science. He is a qualified teacher of biology and has taught in South Korea, England and Scotland over the last 17 years. David is also a passionate salmon angler and is the founder and chairman of the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Schools Network. Time outdoors hillwalking is another spare time pursuit. David lives with his family in rural Perthshire.

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Kirstie Nelson
Communications & Fundraising
Coordinator

Kirstie is the Communications &
Fundraising Coordinator. Her first degree is in Communications and she holds a Postgraduate diploma in Environmental Management. Kirstie has over 15 years experience working in marketing and communications in the financial sector, local government organisations and the charitable sector. She is passionate about Scottish nature and the countryside. Kirstie enjoys most things outdoors…..and can often be spotted hiking in the Ochil hills with her Jack Russell.  She lives in rural Clackmannanshire with her family.
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Contact Kirstie:
Kirstie@countrysidelearningscotland.org.uk

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Fiona Gibson
Regional  Coordinator 

Fiona is delivering the Pathways to Rural
Work Programme as a Regional Coordinator for the North East.  From an early age Fiona loved the rural life in Gairloch; from lambing in the Spring to sea fishing in the summer. She graduated with a degree in Rural Resource Management and enjoyed a career working for the Scottish Association of Young Farmers and the  Crofters Commission.  Fiona lives on their family farm in Moray, with her husband and three children.

Contact Fiona:

Fiona@countrysidelearningscotland.org.uk

Douglas Gibson
Regional  Coordinator 

Douglas is delivering the Pathways to Rural Work Programme as a Regional Coordinator for the North West.

From a self - employed background in the tool hire trade near Glasgow, Douglas has lived in Gairloch for 35 years now. Throughout most of this time, his work has focused on rural community development work, covering a diverse range of projects from local radio, through to childcare, tourism, and IT training. Currently, he works not only for CLS, but also as a “Ranger” for Nature Scot. He was also once a coalman.

 

Hobbies (obsessions….) are Classic cars, music, real ale and curries. He also enjoys badminton & hill walking. He and his wife are jointly owned by two cats.


Contact Douglas:
Douglas@countrysidelearningscotland.org.uk

 

 

Bryony Dowson
Regional  Coordinator 

Bryony is delivering the Pathways to Rural Work Programme as a Regional Coordinator in the Cairngorms. With a background in Acupuncture and a personal love of the countryside, Bryony is enthused by how our natural environment can support people’s wellbeing. This passion inspired postgraduate study in Ecology & Conservation, combining her experience of wellness with a motivation to reconnect people with nature and rural communities. Bryony lives in Aberdeenshire and spends much of her spare time outdoors.

 

Contact Bryony:

Bryony@countrysidelearningscotland.org.uk

Our Trustees

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Tony Andrews

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Jim Drysdale

Deirdre Stewart

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Keith Hopkins

Ralland Browne

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Alister Aitkenhead

Nicola Simpson

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Doug McAdam

OUR TRUSTEES

Our Ambassadors

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Chris Tiso, is our first ambassador. He is CEO of the outdoor retailer Tiso and Hon President of Scouts Scotland. Like us Chris feels strongly about giving young people hands-on learning, training and employment opportunities in the land use and rural industries. He also wants to share and promote the tremendous health benefits and life-long work and leisure opportunities within the countryside.