A group of hardy Outdoor Education students recently left their more regular activities such as kayaking and mountaineering to one side, as they took on a new volunteering challenge: tree planting in the Snowdonia National Park for the National Trust.

The first-year students, who are based at Coleg Llandrillo's Rhos-on-Sea campus, recently began their voluntary work for the trust in and around Cwm Penmachno.

The students have just finished their water activities - sailing, canoeing, kayaking and surfing - for this year. They've now started their land-based activities - rock climbing, land navigation, hill walking skills and camp craft - including the first of their volunteering days for the National Trust.

The first-of-its kind river restoration project is aiming to attract more wildlife and decrease flood risk in the Conwy Valley. It will do this by creating new habitats to attract more wildlife (including brown trout, otters, kingfishers and cuckoos), plant more trees (such as willow and alder) along the river to attract more dippers to the area, and restore flower-rich wet meadows.

Outdoor Education tutor, Mike Hendry, said:

The students are contributing to the National Trust's long-term scheme to re-establish the eco-systems of the area, increasing its bio-diversity and reducing flooding incidents lower down on the River Conwy. They are having fun and helping the environment, as well as gaining their John Muir Environmental Award.

Four challenges lie at the heart of the award: discover a wild place, explore it, conserve it and share your experiences.

The college's Outdoor Education courses develop knowledge and skills in a range of outdoor sports, including rock climbing, hillwalking, gorge-scrambling and canoeing. Students study topics such as land and water-based outdoor activities, expeditions, training for personal fitness, practical sports, anatomy and physiology, as well as completing a work experience placement.

For more information on Coleg Llandrillo's range of Outdoor Education courses, call the college's Learner Services team on 01492 542 338 or visit www.gllm.ac.uk/sport

Email: enquiries.llandrillo@gllm.ac.uk