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netw       rk bulletin winter 2012

for TCV Scotland’s community Network

2012 has undeniably been a year of heroes. Whilst the conservation movement can’t compete with the spectacle or drama of the Olympic or Paralympic Games, we can nevertheless celebrate the fantastic work and achievements of our own Green Heroes – individual volunteers and groups dedicated to conserving their local environment. Meet some on pages 6-7.

Also in this issue... Big Green Weekend.............................2 A Highland community’s vision........3 Training courses, plus a seasonal offer!..........................4 Transforming the Inner Forth............5 Village residents taking pride...........9 A festive reading list..........................10

Winter 2012

TCV’s Green Gym Co-ordinator Julie Wilson (in blue) with Glasgow Life’s Green Heroes Pam Dickson, Niki Smith and Shaun Pearce, plus Holly the dog, during a Green Gym session in the garden at Blairtummock House, Easterhouse. See pages 6-7.

Join in, feel good 1

During 5-6th October, thousands of people throughout Europe came together to take part in the Big Green Weekend of community events to celebrate and conserve their local environment. The Big Green Weekend is organised by The Conservation Volunteers and its partner organisations belonging to the Europewide Conservation Volunteer Alliance. Each organisation held a number of ‘flagship’ Big Green Weekend events in its own country. The Conservation Volunteers held ten such events throughout the UK, including ‘Nature Discovery Day’ at the Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre* in Grangemouth.

Youngsters enjoying the Big Green Weekend at Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre, Grangemouth.

Volunteers clearing the overgrown pond behind Garrison House, on the Isle of Cumbrae. Wildflower planting in Kemnay

Nature Discovery Day attracted over 100 local youngsters and parents to find out about the diversity of fascinating wildlife living on their doorstep. The children enjoyed a range of hands-on activities including pond dipping, woodland crafts, plant potting, plus nature games and quizzes. And, there was the very popular nature-themed face painting which resulted in a host of colourful butterflies, frogs and tigers exploring the Jupiter site! In addition to The Conservation Volunteers, several other organisations were on hand to provide some natural information and inspiration, so we’re grateful to the staff from the Scottish Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Froglife, Central Scotland Forest Trust and Earth Calling. To continue their nature discoveries after the Big Green Weekend, all the youngsters left the event equipped with a bug magnifier, wildlife identification


cards and attractive nature posters. We hope we’ve encouraged some budding David Attenboroughs!

Fences were erected, litter picked, weeds dug-up, shed installed and borders planted by the enthusiastic Friends.

Elsewhere in Scotland, local Big Green Weekend events were held in Ayr, Kemnay, Millport and Prestonpans. On the outskirts of Kemnay, in Aberdeenshire, volunteers planted wildflowers at a restored quarry site. Rhododendron was cleared in Ayr’s Belleisle Park, whilst in Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae, a team of TCV and local volunteers cleared an overgrown ornamental pond behind Garrison House. This work is part of an ambitious scheme to transform the area into a community garden and is being co-ordinated by the Isle of Cumbrae Initiative Community Company. Over on the other side of the country in Prestonpans, East Lothian, the Friends of Cuthill Park were helping to maintain the park’s community garden.

The Big Green Weekend is supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation * jupiter Many thanks to everyone who took part in this year’s Big Green Weekend. Although only in its second year we hope this will become a fixture in the annual calendar of green events. So, if your community or environmental group is already planning its programme of activities for 2013, why not pencil in the Big Green Weekend for early October!


Community Network member

ronan simpson

Fulfilling a vision

Laggan, nestling in the dramatic Badenoch scenery

The Laggan Forest Trust was born from the vision of Dr Ian Richardson, affectionately known to locals as Doc Ric. Laggan’s GP wanted to see Strathmashie Forest opened up to the residents of Laggan and environs, and used for recreation and to create employment.

Youngsters cooking ‘twisters’ during a session of survival skills. Twisters comprise of flour and water made into dough, rolled into a sausage shape and then wrapped around a ‘green’ stick to cook over a fire. Best served with a dollop of jam!

Specifically, the Trust’s aims are to: • Safeguard local community interests • Try and increase employment revolving around Strathmashie Forest • Reduce the depopulation rate and maintain all essential aspects of rural community life i.e. the school, local shop, doctor etc • Conserve, regenerate and promote restoration of woodlands • Promote all benefits of the woodland Operating as a development trust, the organisation is wholly communityowned and led, and undertakes a range of activities in the forest, working in partnership with the Forestry Commission Scotland as well as other community groups and organisations, and aspires to achieve economic sustainability through various enterprises. In 2010 the Trust secured £122,320 from the

Winter 2012

Davy Campbell, Chair of the Trust’s Board of Directors, clearing windfall trees in the forest. Cairngorms LEADER programme towards their plans to create new community and leisure facilities in Strathmashie Forest. This funding was part of a total package of £294,641 over three years which came from a wide range of public and private sources, including the Forestry Commission Scotland, the Cairngorms National Park Authority, and Highland Council. This allowed the Trust to recruit two members of staff for their Development Team, to join their existing Administrator. The Development Manager and Projects Officer have now also been joined by a Community Recreation Assistant through Community Jobs Scotland, and in 2013 a fifth member of staff will join the team.

LFT will welcome a second Community Recreation Assistant, this time from The Community Volunteers’ Natural Communities programme (page 8). The team will grow further in the near future when two members of staff join LFT as wood fuel and path-building operatives. This section of the project is funded by The Scottish Government through its Enterprise Growth Fund, and Laggan Forest Trust aims that it will grow in order to provide yet more jobs, which are much needed in this remote area.

sandra grant

The LFT formed a partnership with the Forestry Commission Scotland in 1998, and aims to continue building and nurturing partnerships concerned with community, conservation, leisure, employment and business.

iona malcolm

Laggan is a small Highland community in Badenoch, and lies within the Cairngorms National Park. Here, Iona Malcolm, Projects Officer, outlines the work of the Laggan Forest Trust.

The central project on which the Development Team are working is the creation of a Forest Centre at Strathmashie, which is adjacent to the Forestry Commission’s Wolftrax mountain bike course. The new centre will include a café, a bike shop, toilets, showers and offices for LFT as well as flexible community space which can be used for meetings or even as a venue for further education. Until the Forest Centre is built LFT is using temporary premises in the forest and running a series of events and activities for locals and tourists alike to raise awareness. These have been very well-received and are attracting hundreds of people to come and enjoy the forest and all the wonderful views, activities and knowledge it has to offer. The team is now at the stage of securing funding for the construction of the centre, which will draw many more people to the area of Laggan, and encourage them to stay for longer. This will mean more business for local accommodation and service providers as well as more jobs available to local people. Doc Ric would be proud! For further information:


Improve your knowledge, enhance your skills If you or your community group have a gap in your ‘green’ skills or knowledge, the answer may lie in attending a one or two day learning event provided through the Environmental and Community Leaders Training Programme (ECLTP). The ECLTP reflects the huge range of activities involved in environmental volunteering. Topics covered include practical conservation skills, group leadership, health and safety, volunteer management, wildlife identification techniques, and working with communities, including disadvantaged groups. The ECLTP is a multi-partner and diverse programme of green learning which merges key training opportunities provided by the Forum for Environmental Activity (FEVA), TCV Scotland and other organisations. The programme is supported by the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Coming up

The training programme is constantly evolving to meet the diverse interests and needs of groups and individuals. The latest programme includes a number of new course topics, including:

Creating Basic Willow Structures in Schools

11 December, Edinburgh Traditional school playground equipment can be complemented by the addition of natural features made with willow. This course includes practical techniques for the creation of various willow structures such as domes and tunnels – always popular with younger pupils.

Keep up-to-date with the training programme plus other Community Network developments, funding opportunities for groups, and news of green events and resources, via our regular eBulletin, produced at the beginning of each month. Subscribe at

Winter Tree Identification 16 January, Edinburgh

buy one, get one half price

The courses listed above have a standard fee of £50. Book on one of these or any other £50 course running before the end of March 2013, and get another course at halfprice. Offer ends on 21 December. With extra support from the Scottish Government and SNH, some volunteer management courses are provided free of charge. Details of all forthcoming courses, plus booking details are available at www.

Suits you? Are you bamboozled by which tree is which, especially in the depths of winter when all the deciduous trees have lost their leaves? This course will give you more confidence to know which tree you’re looking at. During the course of the day we’ll look at twigs, buds, bark and tree form to come up with the correct species (most of the time!). We’ll also look at a few evergreens, including common conifers.

Access to Woodlands and Anti-social Behaviour

29 January, Edinburgh Almost all woods have public access which is greatly welcomed by the majority of responsible users but can also attract some anti-social behaviour. For those involved in managing woodlands this course explores how to encourage positive access and discourage negative activities, whilst protecting the qualities the woods have to offer.

New members Welcome to the following groups and organisations which have joined the Community Network recently: Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group (Highland) Cousland Smiddy Trust (Midlothian) Drylaw Neighbourhood Centre (Edinburgh) Duddingston Village Conservation Society (Edinburgh) FEI Tayside Cluster Group (Big Tree Country FEI) Friends of Craighouse (Edinburgh)


Christmas offer:

As well as the regular programme of training events, The Conservation Volunteers can organise training tailored to the particular needs and preferred locations of groups and organisations. If you have an idea for a training event for your own staff and/or volunteers, please contact Julia Duncan, Learning Manager, at or 07843 069559.

Sharing experience

In addition to the ongoing training programme TCV Scotland also organises a series of free ‘Sharing Good Practice’ meetings for people to come together and share their experience and knowledge about a particular environmental topic. Previous events have discussed ‘Involving Young People in Outdoor Activities’ and ‘Enhancing Mental Health through Greenspace’. The next Sharing Good Practice event will explore Social Media for Green Groups’ – details TBC.

Great Michael Gardens Association (Edinburgh) Greenhead Moss Community Group (Lanarkshire) Lochend Community High School (Glasgow) Meldrum Paths Group (Aberdeenshire) North Kelvin Meadow Campaign (Glasgow) Pheonix Futures Skills to Employment (Coatbridge) Portlethen Moss Conservation Group (Aberdeenshire) River Carron Fisheries Management Group (Stirlingshire) Springburn Academy (Glasgow) St Benedict’s Primary School (Glasgow) Westerhouse Nursery & Family Centre (Glasgow)



Going Forth

A familiar local landmark – Longannet Power Station


he Conservation Volunteers is part of a pioneering partnership project aiming to enhance the landscape and celebrate the history of the Inner Forth. The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) intends to reveal the hidden cultural, historical and natural wealth of the upper reaches of the Firth of Forth, restore and conserve important features, open up access, and ultimately leave a legacy of a richer landscape and new facilities for all. The Inner Forth sits close to the heart of Scotland between two of its ancient capitals – Stirling and Dunfermline, and includes coastal areas within Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Stirling and Fife. The Forth is designated as an internationally important site for birds, providing a refuge for thousands of wildfowl and wading birds in winter. The landscape has also been home to Scottish industries for centuries, becoming an important trading route with the rest of the world. Along the coastline, there is evidence of ancient ports and harbours, salt pans, lime kilns, mining and whisky production, sitting alongside the industries of today at Grangemouth, Alloa and Longannet. The layers of history and heritage hidden within the landscape create a fascinating story to be told.

and celebrate their area’s heritage • Increase access and knowledge of the area’s important heritage • Provide training opportunities for people in local heritage skills The IFLI is currently in its development phase having received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) at the end of which it will apply to the HLF with a fully developed application for the full Landscape Partnership award. The IFLI is a partnership between RSPB Scotland (lead agency), Scottish Natural Heritage (Chair), Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Historic Scotland, Clackmannanshire Council, Stirling Council, Falkirk Council, Central Scotland Forest Trust, Sustrans and TCV Scotland. Kate Studd, Inner Forth Landscape Programme Manager, says: “We’re delighted that we have cleared this important first hurdle and that the Heritage Lottery Fund recognises the potential of what can be achieved in this landscape. The Inner Forth is an area of real conservation and historic importance. Sadly, despite its fascinating history, it is often overlooked and undervalued. With this support from HLF, we will be able to work with local communities to take action to protect and celebrate the area’s valuable heritage.”

In particular the IFLI aims to: • Turn around perceptions of the Inner Forth and rekindle local pride in this place • Connect disparate habitats to create a landscape flourishing with wildlife • Celebrate, protect and improve access to important historical and natural features • Support committed and motivated local community groups, individuals and organisations to take action to conserve

Winter 2012

The Conservation Volunteers is looking forward to being part of the IFLI, as Graeme Anderson, TCV Scotland Operations Manager, explains: “This is an exciting project and we’re particularly keen to be involved in the community aspects of the scheme as it evolves over the next few years. This is a great opportunity for local individuals and groups, including members of our Community Network, to help improve their local environment. To

aid in this we’re employing a Community Outreach Officer, as part of our Natural Communities programme (see page 8). This person will be based in our Stirling office so will be ideally placed to work with local individuals and communities, including disadvantaged and marginalised groups. We’ll keep people informed of the progress of the project through the Network Bulletin plus regular blogs* from the Community Outreach Officer who starts in January 2013.” *

Community Consultation coming up A number of consultation meetings have been held for local people to find out more about the Initiative and giving them the opportunity to air their views and suggestions on potential projects to strengthen the links between the landscape and local communities. Further Community Consultation events are being held between January-March 2013. Details will be available on the Initiative website For further information contact the project team at or call the Programme Manager, Kate Studd, on 07748 077031.


And the winner is... Each year The Conservation Volunteers celebrates the fantastic work and achievements of its volunteers and the community groups and partner organisations we work with – our ‘Green Heroes’. The 2012 Scottish Green Heroes were announced recently:

Volunteer of the Year Award Duncan Fraser

Green Skills Award Colin McPherson

Project Leader Award Lindsey Duncan


Duncan Fraser pictured at the fish ladder on the Blackwater River, near Contin. Each year TCV volunteers help the Cromarty Firth Fisheries Trust catch up to 200 wild salmon from whom they gather eggs which are then fertilised. The resulting young salmon smolts are later released back into the river, so helping to conserve the stocks of this iconic fish.

For the volunteer who has shown outstanding commitment, innovation or achievement in their volunteering, with demonstrable returns for both the individual and their local community and environment.

“I love nature, and I see it as the most important thing.” Duncan Fraser, regular volunteer, Inverness


Colin McPherson in the greenhouse at Auchincruive, Ayr. For the individual who has made significant changes to their life as a result of the skills, qualifications and experience acquired through involvement with The Conservation Volunteers.

“I enjoy it, especially being in peoples’ company. I work for the council in the summer but in the winter it can be quite depressing being in the house for days at a time so I like being outside, socialising with other people and benefitting the community. It’s therapeutic and gives me a feeling of purpose when I’m unemployed.”

Lindsey Duncan (left) and helpers clearing an area for planting at St Charles’ Primary School, Glasgow. For the individual who has shown commitment, innovation or achievement in leading environmental projects.

“I’ve learned such a lot from working with TCV’s staff and volunteers, and had fun too. It’s helped me to build up the skills and experience I need to get work in the conservation/ community sector, I’m really pleased to receive the Project Leader Award.” Lindsey Duncan, Conservation Volunteer Leader, Glasgow

Colin McPherson, Midweek group volunteer, Ayr


Watch our UK Green Heroes video at

Partnership Award Glasgow Life

Glasgow Life’s Niki and Shaun tending to the flower bed at Blairtummock House. For the council, company, trust, charity or other group that best works in partnership with The Conservation Volunteers at a local level.

“It’s been great being part of the Green Gym. Not only have we helped to transform the gardens around the offices in which we work, creating a more pleasant environment for everyone, hopefully we are also all a bit fitter, and a better team from the experience. The best thing of all was that we achieved all this and it didn’t seem like hard work at all! It was just an enjoyable experience from beginning to end. Bring on the next Green Gym assignment – the Glasgow Life Green Heroes are ready!” Andy Robinson, Assistant Area Manager, Glasgow Life

“As a manager whose staff have taken part in this initiative, I have found real value in all concerned being able to get to know each other so much better, informally.” Niki Smith, Area Manager, Glasgow Life

Winter 2012

Community Group of the Year Award Drylaw Neighbourhood Centre

This happy bunch are some of the volunteers from the North Edinburgh Green Gym, with TCV’s Chris Peach and Elizabeth Graham of the Drylaw Neighbourhood Centre at the front. For the community group that has shown the most outstanding commitment, innovation or achievement in working towards a better environment where people feel valued, included and involved.

“Working with TCV has opened up new opportunities for our volunteers. The skills of TCV’s Chris Peach have meant we can now tackle bigger clear-up jobs helping us improve more areas of the local community. Being able to offer the Green Gym programme has increased the number of people volunteering in our garden project and brought new people into the community centre.” Elizabeth Graham, Community Engagement Co-ordinator, Drylaw Neighbourhood Centre, Edinburgh

As well as the winner s listed here we’d like to congratulate all the other volunteers and groups who were nominated for the Green Heroes award s.

European Award La Team

La Team volunteers pond dipping for dragonfly and damselfly larvae at Earlsburn Reservoir, Stirling. TCV Scotland also contributed to La Team which was the UK-wide winner of the Green Heroes European Award, supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The Award is for the volunteer or group that has inspired others, shown outstanding commitment, innovation or achievement in their volunteering with demonstrable returns for both the individual and their community, organisation and environment. “The La Team programme enables young volunteers from across Europe to work together as international teams and develop a better awareness of the European environment. During summer 2012 volunteers Janter, Galini, Valentina and Pauline, from Estonia, Greece, Italy and France, spent 4 months working with The Conservation Volunteers in Stirling. Meanwhile volunteers Esther, Bryan and Dave from Scotland went to work with conservation organisations in France, Greece and Estonia. La Team’s volunteers carried out a wide range of conservation tasks, everything from habitat management to creating school wildlife gardens. La Team was a fantastic learning experience for everyone involved and we’re already planning for La Team 2013!” Anthony Morrow, La Team Co-ordinator for TCV Scotland


Meadow making

Claire Bates (kneeling) and the Drylaw wildflower planters.

A small corner of Edinburgh will be a little more colourful in future thanks to the efforts of Natural Communities trainee Claire Bates and the staff, volunteers, and friends of the Drylaw Neighbourhood Centre*, in the north of the city. Here, Claire and her willing helpers have planted wildflowers to create the ‘Marsh Orchid Meadow’. The meadow is named after a beautiful example of a Northern Marsh Orchid which was found in the unlikely setting of the Centre’s grounds. The Northern Marsh Orchid can be found in Holyrood Park which was the location of two enjoyable visits by Claire and a group of the neighbourhood centre’s members. After these trips everyone agreed it would be a great idea to recreate a little piece of Holyrood Park in the grounds of the centre. So, on a rather soggy autumn day, the meadow makers planted dozens of Yarrow, Water Avens, and the wonderfully named Sneezewort, to give the sole orchid some company. Inside meanwhile, some of the centre’s users enjoyed arts and crafts activities with a meadow theme resulting in a host of colourful butterflies. The Northern Marsh Orchid As its name suggests, the beautiful Northern Marsh Orchid is mainly found in northern Britain, and prefers damp growing conditions. It grows up to 25cm and has deep purple flowers, usually seen in June-July.


The meadow project was one of many community projects organised throughout Scotland as part of the CSV Action Earth campaign. For most of 2012 Claire has been a TCV Natural Communities trainee with the Green Crags Project, in partnership with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. She says: “My role has been to engage communities in Edinburgh with the wild plants of Holyrood Park. During this time we looked into what plants are edible through food foraging, explored plant folklore, and discovered more about the medicinal uses of plants. On a personal level, and with lots of training provided by The Conservation Volunteers, I have learned how to plan and organise events for communities and much more.... the list is endless! I’ve taken my own learning path and have developed a passion for wild food foraging. Before my placement I often overlooked plants but I now have a new appreciation for them. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has won me over - I love plants!” The Natural Communities programme encourages greater engagement between

The crafty butterfly makers. environmental organisations and the general public, and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. A fresh intake of 7 trainees will be up and running from late January 2013. More information about Natural Communities and the programme’s trainees can be found at naturalcommunities

*The folk at Drylaw Neighbourhood Centre have been pretty busy over the past year which has resulted in them being named as winners in the Green Heroes Awards – see page 7.


Groups online It’s a sign of the times that many groups and organisations belonging to the Community Network now have their own website. This can be an essential promotional tool to keep group members and the local community informed of upcoming activities, an opportunity to showcase the group’s achievements, and somewhere to acknowledge important funders and supporters. Many groups are well clued-up in web matters but others, especially new groups, may not have the time or skills to start a website from scratch. For paid members of the Community Network a solution is available from The Conservation Volunteers which can provide a website template and hosting facilities to help create a basic site quickly and easily. The Conservation Volunteers provides the framework and technical expertise to get a site live, whilst the group is responsible for writing and updating the content. Approximately 30 Community Network members currently use this service, including two in Scotland: Roots of Arran Community Woodland www.rootsofarrancommunitywoodland.

Battlefield Community Project Paying members of the Community Network can take advantage of this useful service free of charge. Further information is available at ‘Making the Most of the Web’ on the online Community Hub of information and resources which all paying Network members have access to. Or, contact Caroline Mehew, Community Network Administrator, at Juliette Walsh, of the Arran group, says: “The website template was very helpful and useful. It is in fact a must these days for displaying any funders’ logos. And, we now have an enquiry button which is fantastic!”

Winter 2012

Community Network member

Taking pride in their village

The villages of Kirkconnel and Kelloholm lie beside each other in Dumfries and Galloway, near to the border with East Ayrshire. They have a combined population of around 2,000 residents and have a rich mining heritage, although the deep mines are now all closed with the subsequent effects on the local economy. Here, William Rae, Secretary of Kirkconnel & Kelloholm Village Pride, outlines the recent activities of the group: The Village Pride group was formed in June 2009, in an area of high deprivation and suffering with the blight of graffiti, litter and general misuse of the open spaces within the villages. Taking our lead from Dumfries Civic Pride, Village Pride created a group of volunteers to co-ordinate the general clean-up of the village and in the process remove the ugly graffiti. Now, it is a well established and constituted group, working with local partnerships for the benefit of the local community and environment. A survey of the whole village resulted in a major allotment project with funding applied for and granted, which transformed derelict former housing land into allotments, landscaped areas and sensory gardens. With this project completed and formally opened, we are now looking forward and have acquired funding for the regeneration of a disused quoiting* park into a children’s play park, to be undertaken by spring 2013.

The dedication ceremony for the A-frame memorial to “all the miners and their families that lived in this area”. The allotment area was prominently showcased after a community barbeque area was constructed and opened as part of the ‘2012 Day of the Region Event’, organised by the Dumfries & Galloway Leader Programme. Day of the Region is a Europe-wide celebration of community life in rural areas. Village Pride took advantage of the event to unveil a Mining Memorial ‘A’ frame and dedication, performed by the Chief Executive of Dumfries & Galloway Council, Mr Gavin Stevenson and his wife. Other dignitaries included the Scottish President of the NUM, councillors from both Dumfries & Galloway and East Ayrshire Councils, and the ‘A’ frame’s major funders – ATH Resources, J&D Services of Auchinleck, plus local company JMC Contracts who donated stone and built the wall at the front of the ‘A’ frame. With the continuing efforts of the Village Pride group and its partners, the future for Kirkconnell and Kelloholm is definitely looking brighter. *Quoits was once a popular pastime, particularly in mining areas, in which a flattened iron ring is pitched at an upright pin or stake in the ground, with points awarded for encircling it. Contact:


Read all about it In the run-up to Christmas most of us are thinking of gifts for friends or family. Books have always been a popular choice, with something suitable for everyone, whatever the age or interests of the recipient. Here, staff from The Conservation Volunteers throughout the UK, give a personal selection of their favourite books about nature and the environment (in its widest sense). Some of the books may not currently be in print but Amazon can be a wonderful thing! Of course books, like puppies, are not just for Christmas, so you may like to squirrel away some of these recommendations for a future birthday or similar occasion. Alternatively, why not treat just yourself! Planting Acorns

By Geraldine Taylor, Impact Books “In the late 1980s, the environment was still something most people took for granted. Part ‘how to’ and part ‘how not to’ guide, Planting Acorns follows the truelife story of a city-based mother who, through her determination to introduce her six-year old to nature, changes her own life too. Over a six year period, it covers the author’s journey from a near hatred of the countryside, resulting from her mother’s illness, to becoming a voluntary warden at the Avon Gorge National Nature Reserve. A unique, heartening and life-affirming read, it’s also full of useful tips, suggestions and practical advice. Planting Acorns is a nature handbook for every family, but a handbook with a life of its own.” Paul Forrest-Jameson, Reading

On Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening Without Boundaries

By Richard Reynolds, Bloomsbury Publishing “A light-hearted look at the technically illegal activity that is guerrilla gardening. This amusing read lifts the lid on a world of secret seed sowing and furtive flower planting. Richard Reynolds has researched the subject with guerrilla gardeners from thirty different countries and compiled their advice on what to grow, how to cope with adverse environmental conditions, how to seed bomb effectively, and how to use propaganda to win support.” Dominic Higgins, Huddersfield


The Legacy of Luna

By Julia Butterfly Hill, HarperOne The true story of a woman’s two year long ‘tree-sit’ to save Luna, a thousand year old redwood in California. “It’s one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read.” Yvonne Stephan, Aberdeen

Gorillas in the Mist

By Dian Fossey, Mariner Books “During my time at uni, although it was many moons ago, I penned and performed a monologue about Dian Fossey who wrote this famous book, which in turn inspired the well known film of the same name, starring Sigourney Weaver. It’s actually well worth a read, with lots of science, so it would suit someone who enjoys reading about facts and studies involving mammals, in particular gorillas... obviously. It’s incredibly heart warming in places and of course very tragic at the end, but it’s an inspirational book for the more factual reader who is passionate about ecology and saving the planet.” Lucy Clayton, Bristol

Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey through Britain By Roger Deakin, Vintage

“A brilliant meditation on wild swimming, the wondrous variety of water highways, byways and habitats of the British Isles, and the observation of nature through total immersion.” Miles Sibley, Devon

The Man Who Planted Trees By Jean Giono, Harvill Press

“This is the most beautifully told story of shepherd Elzéard Bouffier who decides to turn the barren dry wastelands of the south-east French mountains into a very special place by very simply planting trees, or rather acorns. It is a small book, beautifully illustrated with woodcuts by Michael McCurdy. The allegorical story has inspired many people around the world by its simplicity and acts as a call to action.” Anita Prosser, Reading

The Wind in the Pylons: Adventures of the Mole in Weaselworld By Gareth Lovett Jones, Hilltop Publishing

“When Mole (from Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows) finds a tunnel behind the big old cupboard in his kitchen and goes exploring, little does he know the adventures in store. For the passageway turns out to be a time tunnel that eventually brings him out in the mid 1990’s – a strange world in which his beloved valley has been devastated by hulking shed-like shopping zones and most of the animals seem to be trapped inside flotillas of bizarrely-shaped contraptions moving at nightmare speeds along a network of titanic roads. He meets descendants or look-alikes of his old chums, all involved in business, politics and such like. But the time tunnel has unaccountably invested in him a magical skill: whoever he is near is unable to resist telling him the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Rachel Moroney, Southampton


The Butterfly Isles: A Summer in Search of our Emperors and Admirals

The Thrifty Forager: Living Off Your Local Landscapes

The Butterfly Isles also gets the nod from Kerry Riddell, Dumfries: “This book documents the author’s attempt to spot all 59 British butterfly species in a single year. During the year he travels the length and breadth of the British Isles and experiences hope, despair, wonder and worry – depending on how close he is to ticking off the next species and how fragile the existence of that species is. I found it quite hard to put down as it’s beautifully written, full of gentle humour and it doesn’t just celebrate our butterflies, it celebrates the habitats they inhabit and the (often very few) people who protect them.”


By Dave Eggers, Penguin Books “While not specifically about the environment, this book resonates with environmental issues as it’s set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and tells the story of a resident who decided not to evacuate during the storm. It’s non-fiction and goes into lots of the issues around the state of the US under George Bush eg anti-islamist sentiment, inappropriate government response, abuse of power etc. I really enjoyed it – it’s a fascinating insight into many of the issues surrounding the devastation left by Katrina. An emotional rollercoaster and apart from making me angry, it was sad, funny and really moving in places.” Susan Lynn, Belfast

Winter 2012

By Richard Mabey, Profile Books

By Alys Fowler, Kyle Books

By Patrick Barkham, Granta

“I picked this book on a whim determined to buy a book when our local Waterstones was closed down, and thought it was a brilliant book. The author is an amateur naturalist who gives himself the challenge of seeing all 59 species of Britain’s native butterflies in one summer. This book will not teach you all there is to know about butterflies but it is a witty and compelling tale of how a man becomes obsessed with his search. This book has facts, personal anecdotes and fantastic descriptions of the environments and situations he finds himself in, all in pursuit of a butterfly.” Nicola Downs, Colchester

Weeds: The Story of Outlaw Plants

“This book shows how you can forage for food in your local landscapes. The best thing is that it is aimed at people who live in urban areas rather than in the country. There are great ideas for things you can forage for in local parks, pathways, gardens and derelict ground. There are great photos and information about what and when to pick and some ideas of what you could do with your haul.” Julie Wilson, Glasgow

Making Wildflower Meadows By Pam Lewis, Frances Lincoln

“A brilliant book - a bible for anyone who has to manage grasslands. Great for novices, experienced meadow makers, and all those in-between. Pam Lewis writes clearly and informatively about what she has done, the results she’s achieved, and gives some excellent guidance on meadow creation and management techniques.” Rebeka Clark, London

The Secret Garden

By Frances Hodgson Burnett, Vintage Classics “Read this book because it’s magical and inspiring!” Alichia Tomlyanovic, Sheffield

The One Straw Revolution

By Masanobu Fukuoka, New York Review of Books Classic “This is the most inspirational book I have ever read, and I lent it to others who felt the same. It’s an autobiographical account about a Japanese man who develops techniques for managing his parents’ farm that mimic nature, generate yields, don’t harm wildlife and work. Just amazing, inspirational and makes you want to get out there and be part of the solution too.” Chris Ensor, Leeds

“Weeds are the unlikely subject of this witty and thought-provoking read by Richard Mabey, one of the UK’s foremost and most popular nature writers. Here, Mabey explores the origins, uses, myths and magic surrounding many of our weed species, including some very familiar to conservationists who’ve devoted many hours (lifetimes!) of back-breaking effort to their eradication. Rhododendron, Giant Hogweed, Japanese Knotweed – all our ‘favourites’ make an appearance. But after reading this book you may have a grudging admiration for some of these foreign invaders – tough and persistent characters who have come a long way over time and distance to stake their claim in our green and pleasant land.” Graham Burns, Glasgow Another book by Richard Mabey, Nature Cure, published by Vintage, is recommended ‘second hand’ by Julia Duncan, Edinburgh. “I haven’t actually read this book but it received a lot of praise at a conference I organised on the role of nature in improving peoples’ mental health – which is at the heart of Richard Mabey’s book. The message from the conference was – read this book! And I will!”

More good reading... If you require in-depth ‘how to’ information covering the commonest conservation techniques, look no further than the renowned and comprehensive series of handbooks from The Conservation Volunteers. Details available at

And, something for the wee ones... Driving My Tractor

Jan Dobbins & David Sim, Barefoot Books This book comes highly recommended by Travis (3) and Noah (18 months) because it comes with a music CD you can sing along to, you can learn to count the animals on the farm, it has bright colours, and it has a great wee illustration on the back showing what kind of food normally grow on farms. Denise Millan, Edinburgh


If anyone wishes to be placed on the Network Bulletin mailing list, please contact Graham Burns at And, up-to-date information about training courses, environmental events, networking opportunities etc, is available in our monthly eBulletin. Subscribe at scotlandtraining

Follow us online8 conservationvolunteers #JoinInFeelGood The Network Bulletin is published by TCV Scotland. Views and opinions expressed in the Bulletin do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or of The Conservation Volunteers. Editor Graham Burns  E  T 0141 552 5294 ©The Conservation Volunteers 2012. TCV Scotland is a trading name of BTCV, a charity registered in Scotland SC039302, and England 261009. Green Gym is a Registered Trade Mark. Recycled paper

But is it art?

Where to find us

Murals, mosaics, photography, film, drama, poetry, sculpture ...even totem poles! All have been used to involve or inspire people of all ages in environmental projects. A future issue of the Network Bulletin will have an environmental art theme. If your group or project has used art to engage with the local community, please contact or send details to:

Head Office Balallan House 24 Allan Park Stirling FK8 2QG T 01786 479697 F 01786 465359 E

Graham Burns, Bulletin Editor at or call 0141 552 5294.

Feed the birds With winter upon us our feathered friends can do with a helping hand. One answer comes in the shape of the Eco bird feeder on sale in the TCV online shop. Made from recycled plant pots, this is a simple, elegant way of using unwanted food for the benefit of your local birds. The feeder comes with a guide to the different types of foods you can try. The bird feeder is one of the green gifts now available at

Be prepared! Whether due to climate change or other factors, we definitely appear to be suffering from more severe weather events which can disrupt the lives of entire communities. Winter obviously has its own particular hazards and challenges, so how can you and your community be prepared when things turn nasty? Advice and information is available at:

Nature of Scotland Awards 2013 Entries are now invited for the Nature of Scotland Awards which recognise the best efforts made for the benefit of nature conservation in Scotland, and celebrate innovation, excellence and outstanding achievement. Co-ordinated by RSPB, this is the second year of the awards which in 2012 attracted 90 superb entries. There are eight award categories including two new categories which may be of particular interest to Community Network members: Community Initiative Award, and Youth and Education Award. Closing date for entries is 15 March 2013. For more information visit

Foucasie Grandholme Aberdeen AB22 8AR T 01224 724884 F 01224 724055 E 30 Millbank Road Munlochy Inverness IV8 8ND T 01463 811560 F 01463 811661 E Unit M1 143 Charles Street Royston Glasgow G21 2QA T 0141 552 5294 F 0141 552 0418 E Glasgow Life Green Gym Blairtummock House 20 Baldinnie Road Easterhouse Glasgow G34 9EE T 0141 276 1785 E Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre Wood Street Grangemouth FK3 8LH T 01324 471600 F 01324 471600 E The Donald Hendrie Building SAC Auchincruive Ayr KA6 5HW T 01292 525178 F 01292 521872 E TCV Edinburgh is in the process of moving to new premises. T 07824 522314 or 07740 899558 E TCV Registered Office Sedum House Mallard Way Doncaster DN4 8DB T 01302 388883 F 01302 311531 E [NetBul-Winter12/GB/RB/Sev]

The Network Bulletin is produced three times annually and contains news and features on Community Network member groups, plus TCV Scotland projects, programmes and volunteers. Once you’ve read the Bulletin please pass it on to someone else, particularly if you belong to a community group.

TCV Scotland’s community and environmental volunteering activities are supported by:



Bulletin december 2012 lores  

Seasonal magazine for members of The Conservation Volunteers - Scotland Community Network

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