A 15-year-old student from Lasswade High School is set to join an exciting scientific research expedition to Mexico.
This is thanks to a grant set-up by the John Muir Trust in memory of two inspirational mountaineers, who died ten years apart in the Alps.
Blaine Ferguson, who is studying for his Nat 5 exams, has received support from the Des Rubens and Bill Wallace Grant to go on a once-in-a-lifetime research expedition in the jungle of the Calakmul Reserve from June 24 to July 7.
Blaine will be learning about how to gather data in the field, completing surveys on trees, birds, large mammals and herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians). Whilst away he will also complete a reef and forest ecology course.
On his return he plans to use his experiences to inspire other young people to become conservation volunteers.
Blaine hopes this experience will stand him in good stead to fulfil his ambition to become the first member of his family to go to university.
“I’m delighted and grateful to be a recipient of the Des Rubens-Bill Wallace Grant towards my expedition to Mexico,” he said.
“I feel this will be one of the best experiences in my life. The complete immersion in nature conservation will allow me to experience first-hand something I could never achieve in a classroom.”
Rosie Simpson of the John Muir Trust, who administers the Des Rubens and Bill Wallace Grant, said: “We’ve been delighted with the number and quality of applications this year, Blaine did well in what is a competitive application process; we wish him all the best with this adventure and his future studies.
“Des and Bill lived active, adventurous, outdoor lives and would be delighted to know that their lives have opened the door to a new generation of conservation-explorers to follow their dreams.”
Blaine is one of six successful applicants to the Des Rubens and Bill Wallace Grant this year. This grant was established to help people gain life-changing experiences in wild places that have scientific or educational value.