Page 1

netw       rk bulletin Winter 2013-14

for TCV Scotland’s community Network

Everyone needs friends!

In this issue... ...we feature some of the dedicated ‘Friends’ groups helping to care for our heritage and environment around the country.

The Friends of Belleisle’s Big Green Weekenders. P2

Friends of Ben Rinnes. P4

Winter 2013-14

Friends of Newton Park. P6

Friends of Durris Forests. P5

Join in, feel good 1

TCV Scotland event round-up Big Green Weekend Belleisle Park in Ayr was one of the locations for TCV’s Big Green Weekend of environmental action, held at sites throughout the UK. At Belleisle, TCV staff and volunteers were joined by the Friends of Belleisle, a group of local people dedicated to enhancing this popular greenspace. The principal task for the Big Green Weekenders was to clear an area overgrowing with Rhododendron bushes. This had two aims: firstly, to open up views of the wonderful Belleisle Conservatory which local people are working to restore to its former glory. Secondly, the removal of the Rhododendron would create light and space encouraging the growth of other plants and flowers, so increasing the area’s biodiversity. The other task for the day was to plant-up a nearby area with hundreds of native wildflower ‘plugs’, including Ragged-robin, Dog-violet and Self-heal. When flowering, these will provide a splash of colour and attract a wide range of butterflies, bees and other insects. Thanks to everyone who came along and participated on the day, including local MSP John Scott and Councillor Bill Grant. We’re also grateful to South Ayrshire Council for their support, and to CSV Action Earth/ Scottish Natural Heritage, who provided a grant for the purchase of the wildflowers. More photos of the Big Green Weekend are on the Friends of Belleisle Facebook page.

Friends of Belleisle Reg and Olena Stewart clearing Rhododendron beside the Belleisle Conservatory.


Youth Spaces 2013 “Immediately something clicked…The wilderness calms and opens up so many things you never knew about yourself.”


outh Spaces, held on 3 October at SAMH Redhall Garden in Edinburgh, was a conference with a difference and brought together 218 people from the youth and environmental sectors. Its aim was to demonstrate how outdoor spaces can change the lives of disadvantaged young people to enhance their wellbeing and future prospects. The conference heard inspirational stories from young people, including 21 year old Lewis Battes who turned his life around with the help of Venture Scotland. And delegates tried out a range of hands-on outdoor activities – tasters of what can be achieved with young people. The conference successfully united youth and environmental workers and inspired a commitment from both sectors to make outdoor activity a focus for future work with young people. “I had left school with little qualifications and even less motivation and had drifted from place to place involving myself in various criminal activities. Walking into Venture Scotland was daunting and seeing a group of strangers talking away in the

office literally scared the life out of me.....The first couple of weeks were pretty rough and I felt out of place. A couple more weeks passed and we headed to the Glen Etive Bothy and that’s when everything changed..... Immediately something clicked.....The wilderness calms and opens up so many things you never knew about yourself. That is when interesting things begin to happen. Team work becomes essential, social skills improve massively, and leadership skills start to show through.....By the end of the programme I couldn’t even recognise the person I had become. I mean, how on earth did a couple of like-minded people change me in the space of a year when family, friends and teachers couldn’t manage when given ten years? What magical tool did they use to achieve such an amazing result? Again it clicked: the outdoors.” Lewis Battes Read Lewis’s short but powerful speech and find out more about Youth Spaces in the conference report which is available at



Bridging the Burnfoot Burn An impressive new footbridge built by TCV volunteers over the Burnfoot Burn is providing a new route into and through the heart of the Campsie Fells, in central Scotland. The bridge’s construction is part of the Heritage Paths Project, funded by ScotWays, with support from Scottish Natural Heritage. Neil Ramsay, Heritage Paths Officer, said: “This is an incredibly exciting development in the project as this bridge is the last missing link. Existing routes such as the West Highland Way are so well known and well travelled, but now we can


offer people the chance of a new challenge, in new surroundings – to explore the Campsies and its beautiful landscapes.” TCV’s input was provided by staff and volunteers from our Stirling and Edinburgh offices, including young folk on our Get Some Credit programme. They did a fantastic job which they should all be proud of. For further information visit:

rate for its trainees, with 100% of them so far progressing into full time jobs in the environmental, communities and education sectors. And the good news is that the programme, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been extended for a further year and a fresh intake of trainees will begin work in early 2014, with a range of partner organisations. Find out more about the work of the trainees at: naturalcommunities

Winter 2013-14

On a bright October day, the grounds of Crosshill Primary School in Ayrshire were full of the sound of excited children, but this wasn’t a normal break time. The pupils had been let loose from their classrooms to take part in a conservation day to spruceup the school grounds and make them more eco-friendly. The youngsters helped with a range of tasks: an overgrown willow dome was given a ‘haircut’, leaves were swept-up, the compost bin was relocated, weeds were weeded, vegetable bulbs were sown, and native wildflowers were planted. The school’s entire roll of 39 pupils was involved, plus staff, parents, and a team from The Conservation Volunteers. The children all had a great time and gained new skills and confidence in their ability to look after the garden. The conservation day was organised by teacher Isabel Archbold and Crosshill Primary’s staff as part of a TCV environmental programme supported by South Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership and South Ayrshire Council.

“I liked willow weaving the best because I was measuring the branches to see what was biggest.” “I liked the day because there were lots of activities. It was fun.” “We all agree that the school garden is looking much tidier and that we have learned something that will help us look after the garden and grounds in the future.”

Natural Communities incorporates a values based approach to engagement and community development practices which focus on creating opportunities for innovation and shared learning. The bottom line of the programme is to increase the number of people who are engaged with, and benefit from, environmental activities. As well as the benefits to the communities and individuals involved, Natural Communities has had a fantastic success

“I liked planting flowers because it is fun and you get your hands dirty.”

Pictured here are invited guests during the opening of the Burnfoot Burn bridge.

The Natural Communities approach ow can environmental organisations better engage with local communities, including those who may be hard to reach or disadvantaged? That’s been the challenge over the past three years for trainees on the Natural Communities programme, developed by The Conservation Volunteers and partner organisations in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Natural Communities approach was highlighted at a recent workshop in Stirling attended by the programme’s current trainees in Scotland, plus representatives from existing and potential placement providers.

Crosshill’s Conservation Day

Discussing the Natural Communities approach.

“The event has kick started the whole school (and beyond into the community) to re-focus on the fantastic outdoor resource we have on our doorstep.” 3

Friends of Ben Rinnes For a mountain, popularity has a cost. Countless thousands of boot-falls in any one year leave their mark. This was certainly the case with Ben Rinnes in the heart of Speyside, so local people decided to do something about it, as Ella Grant, ‘Chair’ of the Friends of Ben Rinnes, explains:

Raising money is always on the agenda. Here, two of the Friends brave the weather to erect a donation box in the car park. An early volunteer group working on the Ben in 1996 with the wide band of scarring towards the summit clearly visible.

A section of the path restored by the professionals.

It was the detrimental impact of visitor numbers on our local mountain Ben Rinnes, a 2775ft Corbett*, that spurred on a group of local hill enthusiasts, back in 1996, to set up the Friends of Ben Rinnes. An unsightly ‘scar’ was developing on the summit cone of the mountain and several lower sections of the route were becoming real peat bogs. Now, thanks to the work of the volunteer ‘Friends’, Ben Rinnes has a new, wellconstructed path from the car park to the summit.

All our own work? Well, yes and no! In our early days we got the picks and shovels out at weekends and got on with building water bars and digging ditches to help drainage, improving sections of the path to make it more ‘user


A recent photo showing scarring, which will take a long time to regenerate, and the line of the new path.

friendly’, and closing off side spurs to encourage walkers to keep to a defined route. It was always clear, though, that a real solution to the environmental issues facing the Ben was beyond what we could do with own hands, so a main thrust of the Friends’ work has been to search out sources of funding so that we could get the professionals in. The driving force behind this was our founder chairman, the late Dr Ian Cunningham, who attended countless meetings, dealt with mountains of correspondence, became an expert in all the rules and regulations...and succeeded in getting enough support and funding for a new path to be constructed professionally, and a vegetation regeneration scheme to be launched.

As well as co-ordinating the practical work done on the hill we hold social evenings twice a year where we give members a general update and have a speaker – usually someone local talking about their adventures in the mountains at home and abroad, or on an environmental issue of local importance.

The future So what now for the Friends? We are really pleased to have achieved our main goal but the group still has work to do. Having got the new path it needs to be maintained. We are fortunate to have a small group of volunteers with specialist knowledge and skills who have been able to keep a watching brief on the condition of the path. At present they are doing a detailed survey to identify tasks for the rest of us so we will soon be returning to our earlier days of getting our hands dirty! We are also looking at ways to involve the local High School in some future volunteering work, so that we can encourage the next generation of Friends to look after the mountain and its environment. Visit us at and see some nice pictures of ‘our’ hill.

*A Corbett is a Scottish hill between 2,500 and 3,000ft, named after the original compiler of the list, J.Rooke Corbett.


Friends of Durris Forests Photos: JULIA MACKAY

As their name suggests the Friends of Durris Forests (FDF) help care for woodlands in their corner of the North East. Here, the Friends’ Secretary Julia Mackay outlines their aims and activities:

I believe FDF initially joined the Community Network some years ago to benefit from the insurance scheme, but it’s also been useful to maintain links and keep in touch with what’s happening elsewhere.

As a small voluntary group, new members are always welcome, so if you are interested in joining us, please get in touch!

FDF was established in 1998 by local residents campaigning against off-road driving in Durris Forests, near the small Aberdeenshire town of Banchory. The group successfully submitted a planning application for the change of use of Durris Forests from off-road driving in favour of recreation, education, and enhancing and protecting the natural environment. FDF is a registered charity, run by volunteers, and we rely on membership fees and fundraising to deliver environmental projects within the Durris Forests and the wider communities of the North East. FDF manages Durris Forests in partnership with the Forestry Commission Scotland. Our main objectives are to enhance the biological richness of local sites, create recreational opportunities, and develop environmental education activities. Since 2000 we have organised volunteer days and community events such as tree planting, drystane dyking, spring bulb planting, brash clearing, Durris Eco-school activities, family cycling and walking days, guided walks and fun days.

Winter 2013-14

Over the past three years our principal focus has been developing the Durris Forest School Project using local woodlands as the location for outdoor learning. Forest School activities can contribute to the Curriculum for Excellence and also build up the personal skills, confidence and self-esteem of the youngsters taking part. Funding from ‘Awards for All’ paid for one volunteer member (myself) to train as a Forest School Level 3 Leader, whilst support from our local Forest Education Initiative Cluster Group helped pay for tools and equipment. To make the project properly sustainable it’s important that the schools involved have access to sites nearby, and with this in mind we’ve gained the co-operation of local woodland owners, both public and private, including the Forestry Commission Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council, National Trust for Scotland, and Kincardine Estate. Also key to the long term success of the project is to have at least one teacher per school trained as a Forest School Leader, providing them with the necessary skills,

knowledge and confidence. This will ensure Forest School activities are continued into the future, a good example being Drumoak Primary School which has a trained teacher in every class. Following on from the Forest School Project our next big scheme is the construction of a pond at Pitcowdens, which is working in partnership with nesbiodiversity and NESBReC’s* community initiative to record pond life across the North East and help us build up a picture of the health of our region’s ponds. The Pitcowdens site is owned by the Forestry Commission Scotland which will use heavy equipment to dig out the pond. We will then work with local schools to plant-up the pond, and sample and monitor the wildlife it attracts. And, we’re applying for further funding for this project to also include some tree planting, drystane dyking, and boardwalk construction. So, there’s plenty to keep the Friends of Durris Forests occupied during 2014.

* and pooling-our-ponds


Friends of Newton Park Newton Park, in Ayr, is a traditional urban park complete with model boat pond and children’s playground. In 2002, many local people felt that its 2.8 hectares were looking a bit shabby and needed some care and attention, and so the Friends of Newton Park was formed. Here, one of Friends takes up their story: One of the first things we did was to draw up a wish list of improvements, including: • Repair the model boat pond • Enhance the park with trees, shrubs and wildflower meadows • Provide all-weather access paths on existing ‘desire’ lines and a circular path to promote healthy exercise • Erect recycled benches, bins and tables • Upgrade the playground • Provide areas for football and all-weather surfaces for volleyball, basketball, etc

In recent years The Conservation Volunteers has provided various aspects of support to the Friends of Newton Park including fundraising advice and volunteer teams working on practical tasks. Members of the Friends have also attended local TCV training events. Currently, TCV’s North Ayr Green Gym visits the park monthly to carry out general gardening activities.

The Friends set about their ambitious task with help and guidance from South Ayrshire Council. Over the past 11 years we have achieved a great deal, although much remains to be done. The success of the Friends can best be measured in the number of people now using the park. Groups from Voluntary Action South Ayrshire have been involved in many projects in the park, as have the Forestry Commission and the Community Payback Scheme. Over the past summer we had an excellent programme for school children from Heathfield Primary School. Every class visited the park to study subjects including: What’s in your Park?, Weather Forecasting, Looking after Habitats, Health and Exercise Walk, Growing Plants, Pollution Indicators, and for the nursery classes – Rainbows and Rhymes, including litter awareness. We really do believe that involving children in these programmes is the main reason why litter and vandalism in Newton Park has reduced so much recently. Groups supporting those with physical and mental health issues are also welcome to use the park where people can sit and reflect in a safe environment. Older folk and those recuperating from illness and

surgery find the flat circuit easy to use, as do those with wheelchairs and mobility scooters. And for those more active we have 5 exercise units for adults. Small children enjoy the enclosed playground and learn to cycle safely on the tarmac paths in the park. Sadly, our pond is leaking badly (any suggestions?), meaning the 100 year old Model Boat Club cannot meet for now. However, this too is drawing the local community together in their determination to get it fixed for future generations so that they too will be able to enjoy the environment and the wildlife which is now being attracted into what was just a neglected field 11 years ago. Finally, we would like to get across to communities, and would-be volunteers, of the amazing companionship that can build when helping other volunteers to improve their local environment for the benefit of all. To be able to start your day in a beautiful green space, to give a wave and a smile or a helping hand to a neighbour, to be able to show concern for others less able than yourself – these things are priceless! We are free and open 24/7. Visit us online at: or find us on Facebook by searching Newton Park Ayr.

New volunteers are always welcome – contact John Johnstone on 07764 655699.



Friends of Plean Country Park frances barr

Scotland has a network of country parks, usually located close to centres of population. Plean Country Park, in Stirlingshire, now has its own Friends group, as outlined by Wendy Scott, group Treasurer:

TCV understands the activities we participate in, particularly the running of practical workdays and purchase and ownership of tools.

The Friends gather for their AGM. The Friends of Plean Country Park is a voluntary group which began in 2010 with the overall aim being to conserve and enhance the Park for the benefit of people and wildlife. The Park is located between Stirling and Falkirk and covers an area of over 70 hectares consisting of grassland, mixed woodland, some small ponds, a walled garden and derelict estate buildings. It has been owned by Stirling Council since 1989 and is mainly used by walkers who enjoy the varied terrain and network of informal and formal paths. The Park is also used by horse-riders, cyclists, schools, and numerous environmental and health groups, with the Council having a Countryside Ranger based on-site. The Friends group was initially created to represent the users to the Council whilst consultants developed a Master Plan, which was completed in 2011. The value of the Friends input to the Park management was recognised and our role expanded to include practical workdays for volunteers, running small events, fund-raising and supporting the Ranger’s skills training days. Now we are a registered charity with a committee of 7 people and a database of over 100 supporters. We maintain contact with the public through our website. We now have a programme of 6 practical workdays throughout the year. Activities are seasonal and include Rhodie-bashing,

Winter 2013-14

When the Friends group began to develop its practical activities, we joined the TCV Community Network especially for the insurance cover which was particularly wellsuited to our needs.

vegetation and drain clearance, path works, tree maintenance, cleaning and painting of Park furniture, and in the summer survey work alongside the Ranger eg the Greater Butterfly-orchid (the Park being a site of national significance), butterflies and moths. Volunteers come from near and far and enjoy a good day’s work in good company and are provided with free refreshments, if not lunch, as well. If you would like to join us, further information is available on our website or by email. Partnerships and involvement with the local community have been an important part of the way we work. Family events at Easter and Halloween have brought in funds but more importantly created goodwill and given local children a good time. Our big fund-raiser is known as ‘Bark in the Park’ when dogs and their owners descend for some entertaining judging and charity support. The local East Plean Primary School was involved with sowing wildflower seed in the spring, and we hope they will be part of a special project in 2014 to explore trenches used for troop training within the Park during World War I. Success with project fundraising has been achieved with help from bodies such as the Central Scotland Green Network, Stirling Council Community Fund, CSV Action Earth/SNH, and the Voluntary Action Fund. Recognition of our efforts was achieved

The insurance application form for public liability and assets is straight forward and the TCV staff down south understand our jargon (though not our accent!) which made the process straight forward.

when we were awarded the runner-up prize for the Community Woodland category of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards in 2012. This was followed by a Provost’s Civic Award from Stirling Council. Finally, to end the year, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust saw fit to award us £4000 as part of its Community Challenge. Our future plans include developing some community space within the walled garden and continuing to broaden the number and range of people who enjoy the Park whilst retaining those wilder elements which make it so unique. For further information visit us at: www. or contact us at:


After the Jacobite uprising in 1690, King William III approved the construction of a stone fort on the site of earlier wooden defences built by Oliver Cromwell’s forces. The remains of the later structure and the town that grew up beside it are named after King William. Today this example of Scotland’s military architecture is cared for with the help of the Friends of the Old Fort, as explained by Pat Abernethy, group Secretary: We are a small, constituted group of local volunteers with a shared interest and enthusiasm in enriching and reviving the history and heritage of Fort William. The remains of the old fort stand in a most attractive scenic setting on the shores of Loch Linnhe – with Ben Nevis towering in the background. Four years ago, as ‘Friends of the Old Fort’, we resolved to do our utmost to turn the ruins and its environs into a historical attraction worthy of the name – for locals and visitors alike. In order to achieve these aims our plans included: * Enhancement of the entire area, within and outwith the remaining walls and ramparts. * Provision of an all-abilities path network inside the Fort, linked to a series of interpretative panels, imitation cannon, colourful floral planters, and several picnic tables. * Setting up a well-groomed, clean and attractive beach, with rock armour in place to deter flotsam and jetsam.

Friends’ volunteers laying turf on the Loch Linnhe foreshore to provide a recreational-cum-seating area outside the walls.



Friends of the Old Fort

A section of the Old Fort’s interior wall, with the Friends’ additions of floral planters, rockery, cannon, picnic table and one of the interpretative panels.

* Improved access to the entire area, with the long-term intention of building a ramp down to the Loch Linnhe foreshore for wheelchair users. These works have been carried out successfully, by ourselves and a few other volunteer helpers, thanks to our own fundraising efforts and to financial assistance from local sources, including Highland Council. In so doing we have earned a lot of local support. A considerable amount of clearance and re-turfing was carried out by the local Community Services Payback Teams, leading to many complimentary comments from Scottish Government ministers and MSPs. Since the improvements have been realised, a large increase in visitor numbers has been apparent. And several large groups of primary school pupils have been taken on historical tours of the Fort, their trip being augmented by the youngsters noting the natural history and wildlife surrounding it.

A shot from Loch Linnhe, taking in some of the Friends’ rock armour ‘defences’ against seaweed and flotsam and jetsam. The grassed area has taken shape, framed by the outer walls of the Fort.

Four years on, the Friends of the Old Fort are constantly on the lookout to ensure that our enhancement of the area continues to be maintained – and, typically, litter picking in parts of the Fort are virtually a daily exercise! Our forward planning envisages major changes on the Loch Linnhe foreshore, including a sea wall and a garden seating area. We shall continue with our own fundraising programme, and seek to increase the ‘Fort in Flower’ effect, and to improve the beach area. So, there’s plenty to keep the Friends of the Old Fort active for the foreseeable future. Search ‘Friends of the Old Fort’ to find us on Facebook.

The Friends of the Old Fort are very happy to have joined the Community Network – initially to access insurance cover, and we are pleased to compare notes with other Network members through the regular Network Bulletins.


Gre a


d reste New t er

Wa t

e vol

Bishop Loch on a sparkling winter’s day. Making up the magnificent seven lochs are Hogganfield, Frankfield, Johnston, Woodend, Lochend and Garnqueen.

Ot te


Seven Lochs Wetland Park

by Claire Quinn

Halloween in the woods

Winter 2013-14

wildlife photos: EN, Barry Noble, catherine trigg

This Halloween I worked in partnership with The Commonwealth Woods to organise a spooky Halloween event. We led over 200 people on a lantern-lit walk of Todd’s Well wood in Easterhouse (complete with ghouls hiding in the trees) finishing up with ghost stories and treats for the kids at haunted Provanhall House. This was a great opportunity to offer something a bit different to the local community and encourage people to get outdoors. The night went down so well that we are already thinking about Halloween 2014!

Plans for the future

Seven Lochs Trail workshops The Seven Lochs Trail is a new walking and cycling route through the heart of the park from Hogganfield Park to Drumpellier Country Park. During October I worked

Volunteer programme A big part of my role involves organising the Seven Lochs volunteer programme. There are opportunities to get involved in a variety of activities including woodland management, path maintenance, tree and wild flower planting and wildlife surveying. The volunteers also have the opportunity to learn identification skills including butterflies, amphibians, fungi and trees, and some have now gained John Muir Awards. Our programme includes weekday and weekend activities to try to make sure a range of volunteers can get involved.

with a local primary school to take pupils on a visit to Drumpellier Country Park followed by two classroom-based art sessions centred on the wildlife we saw in the park. A final session focussed on respecting nature. The pupils’ artwork will be carved into sandstone blocks to be installed at a new entrance feature along the trail. I also met with members of the community to record their memories and stories of the park and local history. These will be used to provide content for information panels along the route of the trail, which will be completed spring 2014.


My role is to think up and organise activities which will promote the project and give people the opportunity to get involved! This ranges from volunteering to educational activities with schools and leading walks to fun family events.

jo ridley


ix months into the role of Community Engagement Officer* for the Seven Lochs Wetland Park I am thoroughly enjoying being part of this dynamic project. At almost 20 square kilometres the Seven Lochs Wetland Park will be Scotland’s largest urban nature park, including loch, wetland and woodland habitats and a range of rare and protected species such as water vole, great crested newt and otter. The development of the Seven Lochs project is co-ordinated by the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership, working with Glasgow City and North Lanarkshire Councils, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission and others.

In 2014 I aim to run a range of events and activities for all the family including geocaching, Easter egg hunt, mini beast hunts, walks, surveys and of course the Seven Lochs volunteers! We are also awaiting the outcome of a major Heritage Lottery Fund application to take forward plans for the park. If our application is successful my role will be to develop and run a major programme of community consultation and engagement to find out how communities around the Seven Lochs would like to see the project develop. Involving local people and volunteers is crucial to making sure the park has a sustainable future. For information about volunteering opportunities or visiting the wetland park, please visit: or contact me: or call 0141 229 7736

Volunteers during a fungi identification session.

*Claire’s post developed from a TCV Natural Communities placement (see page 3) which was continued with funding from the Glasgow Clyde Valley Green Network and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Graduate Initiative.


A good read

In the run-up to Christmas most of us are thinking of gifts for family or friends. Books have always been a popular choice with something suitable for all ages and interests. Here, staff from The Conservation Volunteers, give their own recommendations for books about nature and the environment. As well as providing gifts for others, you could of course also treat yourself!

Messages from a Disappearing Countryside By Robin Page, Bird Farm Books

This is a selection of thought-provoking articles from a real countryman with a passion for the environment of our wonderful islands. Plenty of substance to discuss whilst the Christmas pudding is digesting, and probably through to the last of the Easter eggs as well! John Dunn, Sheffield

The Woodland Year

By Ben Law, Permanent Publications Ben takes us through a year of his life in Prickly Nut Wood. It’s a fascinating glimpse into how his life is shaped by the changing seasons and the environment around him. It makes you think about opting for a simpler life away from all the trappings of our modern society, and it definitely inspired me to visit a local woodland and just sit a while. Ben has written a number of books, and I’m slowly working my way through them! Anna Hamilton, Glasgow

The New Complete Book of SelfSufficiency: The classic guide for realists and dreamers By John Seymour, Dorling Kindersley

An inspirational handbook providing an overview of a complete range of traditional skills – to read as a whole or to dip into for reference. From allotments and smallholdings to jams and preserves; from foraging to brewing and woodwork. As a catch-all reference point I’ve found nothing better. Toby Roberts, Leeds

The Unnatural History of the Sea: The past and future of humanity and fishing By Callum Roberts, Gaia Books

This book takes a bit of stamina but I managed to read it as an undergraduate and feel it was well worth it. Chloe Date, Yeovil


The Thrifty Forager

By Alys Fowler, Kyle Books A great read! Claire Dinsdale, Bristol

The Ages of Gaia – A Biography of Our Living Earth

By James Lovelock, Oxford University Press Following on from his early works on the mother earth (the Gaia) Lovelock again returns to his familiar topic of an inter-connected, selfregulating planet that will protect itself at all costs to survive. A great book with some frightening predictions for the future. Dave Cassidy, Barrow-in-Furness

Gossip from the Forest By Sara Maitland, Granta

An enchanting and thought-provoking read exploring the links between our ancient forests and our best loved fairy stories. A great book to get lost in on a winter’s night in front of a roaring log fire as we approach pantomime season. Martin Lawson, Lisnarick, County Fermanagh Gossip from the Forest is also recommended by Gill Butler: Whilst this book is about forests and their links to fairy stories, I found the most interesting chapter was on the Forestry Commission and its controversial history and current outlook. I can also recommend White River by Jamie Whittle about his trip down and then up (or maybe the other way round!) the Findhorn river in northern Scotland. Tony Juniper’s What Has Nature Ever Done For Us? is a rare optimistic book about conservation and how we can look at the way nature works to solve our own environmental problems – maybe a bit too much on other countries, but it does sound less of a death knell than other similar books. Another good read is Simon Armitage’s Walking Home about his walk along the Pennine Way, with lots of amusing observations. Gill Butler, Chestnut Grove, Nottinghamshire

Bob’s Basics: Composting By Bob Flowerdew, Kyle Cathie

Last Christmas I used the time off to clear some overgrown parts of the garden ready for fruit and veg planting. But just at the time of year that the Council wasn’t collecting green waste, what was I to do with all the branches and roots? I turned to Bob’s composting book, a beautifully produced and illustrated little book which not only tells you clearly and simply how to deal with green waste, but also makes it fun! It arouses a love and curiosity of the natural world, an enthusiasm to get out into the garden and to explore, and confidence to try a whole variety of composting methods. A lovely gift for yourself or someone else. Rachel Miller, Kendal

Bugs Britannica

By Peter Marren and Richard Mabey, Chatto & Windus This is a fascinating book about bugs and the stories, myths and colloquialisms that surround them. Rachael Ford, Bristol

A Handbook of Scotland’s Trees By Fi Martynoga, Saraband

This is a good read taking you through many of the trees (not all native) found in Scotland and describes identification features, past and present uses, folklore etc, as well as planting tips and seed collection and treatment practices. Paul Gunn, Stirling

The Earth Care Manual

By Patrick Whitefield, Permanent Publications An astonishingly detailed and comprehensive text providing potential permaculturalists and environmental thinkers with a solid grounding of all things pertaining to humanity, our place in nature, and working within it. Its pages drizzle inspiration in to the mind of the reader, filling to the brim the imaginations of the curious and societal rebels and fuelling dreams and aspirations for years to come. This book builds new neural roads without once spreading tarmac over other ideas. Mark Buxton, Wigan

The Wilderness Family

By Kobie Kruger, Bantam I’ve read this book many times. It’s about Kobie and her family who live in a remote ranger station in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, where Kobie’s husband is a ranger. The book recounts the adventures and extraordinary wildlife encounters they faced every day, including adopting an orphaned lion. The wildlife stories are funny, sad and magical. This is one of my all-time favourite books. Julie Grant, Kilmarnock




A must! Katie Lowry, Manchester

In 1992 a cargo ship encountered a terrible storm in the Pacific during which twelve containers toppled overboard, one of which burst open and 28,800 plastic ducks, beavers, frogs and turtles were set adrift on the high seas. Years later Donovan Hohn, a New York English teacher, heard about this particular toy story, and intrigued, Hohn quit his job to find out what happened to the floatees – where did they go? Along the way he encountered a motley collection of beachcombers, oceanographers and environmental campaigners, from whom he learned about ocean currents, global trade, ghost nets, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and much more. Plastic is at the heart of the story, and Hohn highlights the colossal amounts of plastic littering the marine environment with its damaging effect on wildlife, and potentially us. Reading this book you’ll realise that the usefulness of plastic comes at a price, and that it can last for a very, very long time. Graham Burns, Glasgow

By Roger Deakin, Hamish Hamilton

A Walk in the Woods By Bill Bryson, Black Swan

I’d recommend anything by Bill Bryson but try A Walk in the Woods – it made me cry with laughter all the way through. He is a travel writer and likes to read up on all the possible dangers, ie what to do in the event of a bear attack. His book Down Under made me want to go to Australia, even with all the Irukandji and giant spider information! Gemma Owen, Swindon

Capitalism as if the World Matters By Jonathan Porritt, Earthscan Publications

It’s thought-provoking and inspiring. It made me think how vital what we do is. Julie Hopes, Doncaster

The Day Job: Adventures of a Jobbing Gardener By Mark Wallington, Arrow

An aspiring writer tries to sell comedy scripts to the BBC whilst working as a gardener in London. There’s just one minor problem – he knows nothing about gardening! Stephen Bradley, Clandeboye, County Down

Strands: A Year of Discoveries on the Beach By Jean Sprackland, Jonathan Cape

This wonderful book documents a year’s walking on the beaches between Blackpool and Liverpool and the objects discovered along the way. It’s about all the things you find on a beach and the journeys of imagination and meaning those things take you on. Reading it reminded me of wonderful days of my own on beaches and made me yearn to return. This book is the perfect antidote to the relentlessness of day-to-day life, a beautifully written reflection on time, change, society and our relationship with the environment. I’d also recommend The Old Ways by Robert McFarlane. Kerry Riddell, Moniaive, Dumfriesshire

The Burning Question

By Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark, Profile Books This is a really well-written and engaging read about climate change that outlines the urgency of the problem. Reading it has transformed the way I think about fossil fuels and inspired me to act in a way no other climate change book has. Megan Jones, Stirling

The Hedgerow Handbook By Adele Nozedar, Square Peg This is a really good read! Katy Green, Glasgow

Winter 2013-14

By Donovan Hohn, Union Books

A Friend of the Earth

By TC Boyle, Penguin Books This novel is set in the US in 2025 and is about a couple in their 70s who worked against climate change as young people. The man looks after a menagerie of endangered animals for the rock star who owns them. What I loved about the book was it brought home to me how human life in a broken climate can be drudgery, rather than apocalypse. For example they are constantly having to clear up after storms. The plot is exciting and the ending has an element of irony about it that I enjoyed. I think it’s a really useful book for people who might not be that bothered about climate change and disbelieve the apocalyptic situations, which, if it ever comes, is not likely to happen by 2025 if I’m to believe my American cousin who’s a scientist on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It did make me think a lot, although I’m already fully aware of climate change and its man-made drivers. Mary Hogan, London

Practical Self Sufficiency

By Dick and James Strawbridge, Dorling Kindersley I don’t have this book myself but did buy it as a leaving present, as it looked really good. I may even treat myself to it one day. (Dick is the guy with the amazing moustache who presents green living programmes on TV). Alyson Hunter, Glasgow

Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain’s Most Enigmatic Animal By Patrick Barkham, Granta

I’ve heard good things about this book and also his The Butterfly Isles. Ralph Walker, Leeds

The Mammoth Book of Shark Attacks

By Alec MacCormick, Robinson Publishing Offbeat and something to get your teeth into, as suggested by Graeme Anderson, Stirling

Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungle of History and the Mind

By David Quammen, W.W. Norton & Company Recommended by Jessica Duffy, Leeds

2020 Vision: One Vision to Rebuild Our Natural Home By twenty leading nature photographers, AA Publishing I came across this and it looks fantastic. Yvonne Stephan, Aberdeen

And, ideas for involving youngsters... I Love My World

By Chris Holland, Wholeland Press Packed full of activities to do with your children, and all written with an underlying respect for the earth. I constantly use it as a reference for working with children, and any parent who wants to get their kids outside should get themselves a copy. Chris Ensor, Leeds

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children By Sharon Lovejoy, Workman Publishing

The simple act of reconnecting children with nature in 12 easy-toimplement ideas for theme gardens that parents and children can grow together. Thoroughly recommended by Julia Duncan, Edinburgh

More good reading... If you require in-depth ‘how to’ information covering practical conservation techniques such as drystone walling, tree planting, pathwork etc, then look no further than the comprehensive series of Handbooks from The Conservation Volunteers. Classics! Details available at


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 2013. Charity registered in Scotland SC039302, and England 261009. Green Gym is a Registered Trade Mark. Recycled paper

FEVA Forum Exchanges 2014 Forum Exchanges are free events for people working and volunteering in the environmental and related sectors to learn and share information and experiences. Working Together in the Outdoors 29 January 2014 10-2pm, including free lunch Edinburgh Mosque Minority ethnic and environmental organisations share good practice around working collaboratively in the great outdoors.

Communications DAY

13 February 2014 TCV Edinburgh Mortonhall This is a ‘double header’ of two separate but related events on ways to promote your organisation. Come to either or to both! Lunch provided. Social Media: A Tool for Growing Your Organisation 10am – 1pm Organisations, large and small, share their experiences of using social media to promote their activities, raise their profile,

and to keep in touch with their membership and wider audience. Effective & Creative Communication 2pm - 5pm What helps in getting your message across? Here, organisations share examples of creative approaches to effective communication, such as promoting successful events, the use of photography and short films, and producing effective e-bulletins, newsletters and other marketing material. For further information and booking of Forum Exchanges, please visit: or contact Tricia Burden on 01786 476170 or Forum Exchanges are organised through FEVA – Forum for Environmental Volunteering Activity.

Outdoor learning training, and more TCV training events cover a wide range of topics with a number of courses in early 2014 focusing on developing outdoor learning for children. Natural Curriculum: Integrating outdoor learning within the Curriculum for Excellence Glasgow 17 January (£50) Bad weather or bad clothing? Learning and playing outdoors in the winter Edinburgh 21 January (£55) Fundraising workshop for developing work in schools around outdoor learning Glasgow 6 February (Free) Natural Curriculum: Integrating outdoor learning within the Curriculum for Excellence Stirling 10 March (£55) Wildlife Rangering for Teachers Edinburgh 17 March (£55)

Further details of these and the other courses in the TCV training programme are available at

Welcome… …to new members of the Community Network in Scotland: Aultnaskiach Dell SCIO (Inverness-shire) Cranhill Beacon (Glasgow) Hailesland Early Years Centre (Edinburgh) Raploch Community Partnership Ltd (Stirling) The Children’s Wood (Glasgow)

Where to find us TCV Scotland Head Office 24 Allan Park Stirling FK8 2QG T 01786 479697 F 01786 465359 E Aberdeen T 07739 447996 E c/o Highland Birchwoods Littleburn Road Munlochy Near Inverness IV8 8NN T 07764 655680 E Unit M1 143 Charles Street 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 St Joseph’s Academy Grassyards Road Kilmarnock KA3 7SL T 07917 436476 or 07740 899718 E The Granary 44 Mortonhall Gate Edinburgh EH16 6TJ T 0131 664 6170 F 0131 664 0583 E TCV UK Head Office Sedum House Mallard Way Doncaster DN4 8DB T 01302 388883 F 01302 311531 E [NetBul-Winter13-14/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:



Network Bulletin winter 2013-14  

Members' magazine for TCV Scotland's Community Network

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you