2017-07-21 

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Experience of a Lifetime Awaits College Students

The experience of a lifetime awaits three students from Newton Rigg College, Cumbria as they get ready for a visit to a bear sanctuary in a Croatian National Park as part of their studies.

Kerry Davis, Rheannon Hackett and Megan Stevenson are studying animal management at the Penrith based Newton Rigg college, and later this month they will fly out to the historic town of Split before heading to the Kuterevo Bear Sanctuary in a small village in the Velebit mountains. There they will spend 17 days helping with conservation work which includes caring for the orphaned resident brown bears.

left to right students Megan Stevenson, Kerry Davis and Rheannon Hackett with alpaca at Newton Rigg College's Animal Academy as the three get ready to work at a Croatian Bear Sanctuary

left to right students Megan Stevenson, Kerry Davis and Rheannon Hackett with alpaca at Newton Rigg College's Animal Academy as the three get ready to work at a Croatian Bear Sanctuary

Their tasks will include cleaning and building enclosures, maintaining the bears' habitat, working with staff to forage for food for the animals, and monitoring native wildlife such as wild bears, deer and foxes. In addition, twice a week the trio will attend lessons to learn Croatian and will undergo the challenges of wild camping in the mountains.

Lecturer Danielle Robinson explained:
“This is a major opportunity for the students to be part of an important conservation project. It's organised through the “Everything is Possible,” a not-for-profit organisation which offers international experiences to young people funded through the Erasmus+ programme.”

Erasmus+ is the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport. It runs for seven years from 2014 – 2020 with organisations invited to apply for funding each year to undertake creative and worthwhile activities.

“Visits to the sanctuary are strictly controlled - Kerry, Rheannon and Megan had to apply and it's a huge achievement for them to be selected. They will be very much immersed in sanctuary life, living in a converted barn, growing their own food and living in an eco friendly way throughout their stay. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am sure they will benefit hugely from the experience,” said Ms Robinson.

At the college students study a broad range of animals and birds – from alpaca to tortoise to domestic animals through courses such as Animal Care and an introduction to Animal Nursing Science through to diplomas in Animal Management.

Kerry and Megan are first year Level 3 Diploma students. Kerry, whose home is in Shap, also works in the college's animal academy as a part time technician. Megan is from Carlisle, and Rheannon, who is a 2nd year student, is from Barrow in Furness. The three fly out to Croatia on 23 July.

Newton Rigg

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