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www.btcv.org/scotland

BTCV Scotland

for BTCV Scotland’s community Network

SPRING 2011

BTCV’s network upgrade Welcome to the first issue of the revised Network Bulletin, which introduces a raft of improvements to BTCV’s support for communitybased environmental action, including a new name for our group scheme in Scotland, the ‘Community Network’. Conserving wildlife habitats, improving access to the countryside, creating community woodlands, establishing allotments, and caring for urban parks and greenspaces. These are just some of the many practical projects being undertaken by hundreds of community groups and thousands of volunteers the length and breadth of Scotland. Practical projects which benefit communities, enhance the environment, promote biodiversity, and improve the lives of those taking part. Since 1994, this growing grassroots environmental activism has been encouraged and supported by the Community Local Action Network (CLAN), BTCV Scotland’s group membership scheme. Supporting communities remains a core aim of BTCV in Scotland and throughout the UK. Over 180 groups are currently ‘paid-up’ members of the Network with hundreds more on our ‘Registered’ mailing list. But, we want even more groups to benefit from membership and to use the network to share their experiences with a wider audience. So, we’ve freshened up what the Network offers, keeping the best of the old and introducing new features to make BTCV’s community support more accessible, effective, informative, and user-friendly. In Scotland we’ve simplified the CLAN name to the Community Network which now aligns us with BTCV in the rest of the UK. And, in addition to Full paid membership we continue to offer the second level of free Registered membership north of the border,

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BTCV’s Community Network supports groups across the environmental spectrum. Two recent Scottish recruits are Glenside Green Gym (above and page 5) and Transition Black Isle (below and page 8).

keeping people informed of training events, campaigns, networking opportunities etc. The Community Network in Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage. Through their many diverse activities, members of the Community Network not only have a significant impact within their own communities, they are making a positive contribution to the wider issues of climate change and sustainability.

In this issue, we look at BTCV’s new ‘offer’ to community groups and highlight some of the Network’s members and the difference they are making.


What’s on offer? Over the next few months BTCV is making a number of improvements to its community support services. Training whether in the classroom or out in the field continues to be a BTCV Scotland priority.

connection with BTCV Scotland we hope you find the Bulletin to be an interesting and informative read. In future we intend including more group profiles plus occasional articles on biodiversity matters and some of the ‘whys’ of conservation – eg why do we remove Rhododendron and other invasive species? This is your Bulletin – please use it to tell your story, appeal for help, feature your wonderful volunteers, and celebrate your success, ie blow your own trumpet! This can be a great way to raise your profile and show others, including potential funders, the fantastic work you’re doing. To discuss any ideas you may have, please contact Graham Burns, Bulletin editor, at g.burns@btcv.org.uk or call 0141 552 5294.

Support on the ground

In Scotland Environmental and Community Training Programme Providing people with environmental skills and knowledge has been central to BTCV Scotland’s training effort over many years. For 2011/12, BTCV has taken account of the growing needs of communities, groups and organisations in contemporary Scotland and will be delivering, in conjunction with the Forum for Environmental Volunteering Activity (FEVA), this new programme of over 50 one and two day training courses. As well as ‘traditional’ green groups the programme is aimed at staff and community leaders who want to involve people in outdoor activity from the non-environmental sectors eg youth programmes, mental health organisations and representatives of the Black and Minority Ethnic communities. These groups work with some of our most marginalised and disadvantaged citizens who could gain most from the personal benefits of environmental activity, including improved health, a boost in confidence, greater interaction with other people, plus better education and job prospects. Put simply, the new training programme is intended to be more accessible and relevant to a wider audience than formerly possible. It covers a wide range of topics which, broadly grouped, include practical conservation skills, group leadership in the outdoors, health and safety, reaching new audiences, community engagement, and influencing behaviour change in terms of climate. The programme is supported by the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage, and is co-ordinated by Julia Duncan with assistance from other BTCV Scotland staff and partner organisations.

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We are currently reviewing the fee structure for our courses and hope to make them as affordable as possible. And, BTCV Scotland is applying to become a registered learning provider with ILA Scotland, enabling those who are eligible to use individual learning accounts to pay for suitable training. Details of course fees and ILA Scotland opportunities will be made available as soon as possible on the FEVA and BTCV websites as well as in the Training eBulletin (see below). NB Due to the free or subsidised fees of most courses the previous course discount for Network members no longer applies. Details of the new Training Programme will be available on the ‘Learning’ page at www.feva-scotland.org

Training eBulletin To keep people abreast of the training programme, a new monthly eBulletin is being introduced. This will include up-to-date information on forthcoming courses plus news of other events, campaigns, funding opportunities etc, of interest to the voluntary and environmental sectors. To subscribe to the eBulletin go to www.btcv.org/scotlandtraining

Network Bulletin The revised newsletter (the one you’re reading!) replaces the familiar CLAN Bulletin but will retain its main focus on the diverse activities of the Network’s member groups and information relevant to them. The Bulletin will also feature items of interest to the wider BTCV Scotland ‘community’ of volunteers, training participants, partner organisations, funders, friends, and the plain curious! It’s an ever- expanding list of groups and individuals. Whatever your

BTCV recognises that many groups, particularly those with limited funds or volunteers, need a little extra support now and then. We therefore intend providing more practical assistance to groups, particularly those within reach of our local offices. A BTCV team led by staff or experienced volunteers can come equipped with all the necessary tools and give a boost to your project. We realise this can’t apply everywhere but a substantial part of the country can be covered by our offices in Aberdeen, Ayr, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Stirling, Fife and Renfrewshire. If your project needs a little help on the ground, contact your nearest BTCV Scotland office to discuss the possibilities. Office details are available at www.btcv.org/scotland

Group events As well as the practical support and new training programme mentioned above we also hope to run more events across the country bringing groups together to share their experiences, or to provide a learning event of relevance to their project. For example, we may hold a ‘biodiversity day’ at a group’s own location, working with the group’s members to find out what species exist on their site, knowledge which may help influence the group’s future activities. We’ve still to confirm what we could offer but if you have an event idea along these lines for your group, please contact Graham Burns, Community Communications Officer, at g.burns@btcv.org.uk or call 0141 552 5294.

And BTCV Scotland is currently running several programmes providing a mix of individual learning opportunities and community benefit: l Sustainable Communities Mentorship Programme – see opposite. l Natural Communities – see page 4. l Natural Talent – see page 14.

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Greater online support for 'Full' Network members is now available at the click of a mouse through the Community Hub.

The UK Community Network As well as developments within Scotland there’s a lot happening in BTCV’s UK-wide Community Network which of course includes the ‘paid’ membership north of the border. In response to suggestions from member groups a number of improvements are on the way, including:

BTCV Community Hub An exciting innovation is our new online ‘Community Hub’ introduced on 1 April and giving groups access to a range of useful information and features, including: l GRANTnet, a comprehensive database helping you source funds for your project. Raising money is one of the biggest challenges facing any community group, so we hope the task will be made easier with instant access to this valuable research tool. GRANTnet allows groups to search across UK and European sources including Government departments, local authorities, charitable trusts and corporate sponsors. l A Resource Bank of helpful guides and information on risk assessment, constitutions, project planning, etc. l The facility to keep records of your members, the sites you work on, and the projects you undertake. And at the click of a button, a reporting function so that you can identify the contribution your group has made to improving the environment.

Spring 2011

l A communications function enabling you to e-mail all of your members and keep them informed eg in changes to your project plans or new developments. Also: l The popular BTCV insurance scheme continues with some added improvements. The scheme allows groups to ‘do their own thing’ with essential insurance cover for their volunteers and members of the public, as well as providing peace of mind for group organisers. l The Start-up Grant from BTCV’s Chestnut Fund has been increased to £150, helping groups to get off the ground, plus the Support Grant of up to £350. For insurance and Chestnut Fund information go to www.btcv.org/shop and select ‘Communities’. And, further improvements are in the pipeline. These improvements have necessitated a small increase in the annual membership fee on 1 April, from £35 to £38 – still a bargain! The UK Community Network is co-ordinated by Caroline Mehew, Community Network Officer, based in our Doncaster office. e-mail c.mehew@btcv.org.uk Tel 01302 388883 Community Network information is available at www.btcv.org/network

More than 100 people have now participated in BTCV Scotland’s Sustainable Communities Mentorship Programme which aims to develop a network of people throughout the country able to inspire their communities to take action on sustainability and climate change. The programme began in May 2009 and is co-ordinated by Kerry Riddell, BTCV Development Manager (Sustainable Communities), who says: “The programme starts with a two day training workshop providing participants, or ‘mentors’, with skills and knowledge to raise awareness about the issues surrounding sustainability and climate change. Personal action is a key theme throughout the two days with participants mapping their skills and gaps, completing a personal ‘action plan’ and committing to undertake a community action of their own choice following the workshop. After the initial workshop, mentors receive ongoing support from BTCV staff and other participants. The most recent workshops were held in Hamilton and Edinburgh and a get-together of people trained so far was held in Edinburgh in March – an opportunity for the mentors to share their experiences and find out what works, and what doesn’t!“ This is an ongoing programme with further workshops planned for Inverness in May, and Perth in October. The programme is free of charge to participants with costs covered by BTCV Scotland and the Forum for Environmental Volunteering Activity (FEVA). If you’re interested in becoming a mentor for your own community, details of the next workshops will be available in the new BTCV eBulletin (see page 2) and the Sustainable Communities Mentorship Programme page at www.btcv.org/scotland. Contact Kerry Riddell on 01848 200184 e-mail k.riddell@btcv.org.uk

Kerry Riddell (standing) and participants at the workshop in Hamilton

The changes outlined here mean a better deal for BTCV Scotland’s Community Network members. On pages 5 to 12 we highlight a range of groups doing different things around the country with a helping hand from BTCV – sometimes a little, sometimes a lot!

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JOHN MCFARLANE

FOREST SCHOOLS TRAINING COMES TO FIFE

Kath Webster (left) undercover with the FEI.

The magnificent seven. The first six Natural Communities trainees plus programme Co-ordinator Anthony. Standing, from left to right: Katy Green, Anthony Morrow, Florence Duncan-Antoine and Alex Hogg. In at the deep end: Alison Greggans, Paul McDonald and Nick Underdown.

Developing Natural Communities How can environmental organisations involve more people and have a greater impact on the communities where they operate? That’s the challenge for the new Natural Communities programme which aims to increase community engagement skills within the natural heritage sector. Over the next three years BTCV is working in partnership with a range of organisations in Scotland and Northern Ireland to provide training placements for 24 enthusiastic individuals to learn about, and contribute to, community and environmental development. Each placement will last for one year and be unique in its focus depending on the placement provider and location. The programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and uses the model established by BTCV Scotland for our highly successful Natural Talent scheme (see page 14). The first six Natural Communities trainees have recently been appointed in Scotland along with the programme Co-ordinator Anthony Morrow, who is based in BTCV Scotland’s Stirling office.

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The trainees, and their placement providers, are: Alison Greggans is based with the RSPB at Abernethy in the Cairngorms National Park. Alex Hogg is based with Butterfly Conservation Scotland in Stirling. Paul McDonald is based with BTCV Scotland in Stirling and is working on Community Biodiversity Networks. Katy Green is based with BTCV Scotland and is working with coastal communities. Florence Duncan-Antoine is based with Carts Greenspace and Renfrewshire Council in Paisley. Nick Underdown is based with The Clyde River Foundation in Glasgow. Further information about the trainees and their placements will be available soon on the Natural Communities page at: www.btcv.org/scotland

The Forest Schools movement has come to Fife in the form of a training programme with the snappy (!) title of ‘Forest School Practitioner Award Training Level 3’. Kath Webster, BTCV Volunteer Development Officer, who is taking part in the nine month programme, says: “Forest School is one of the methods which the Forest Education Initiative (FEI) uses to engage young people in learning about woodlands. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to work with young people in the woods and to work closely with schools and the Curriculum for Excellence in an outdoor setting. Children can learn so much more by being outside and can contextualize their learning much more easily. Forest Schools are primarily concerned with holistic development and are proven to help young people who don’t learn particularly well in a conventional setting. I’m thoroughly enjoying the course and I’m about to run six practical sessions with pupils from Bell Baxter High School in Cupar. To promote its work FEI has local ‘cluster groups’ around the country. I’m a member of the Howe of Fife cluster group which applied for eight of us to go through the course and I hope that we at BTCV can work closely with the rest of the group on the programme. The Howe cluster group was formed two years ago and now has around 50 members. The aim of the group is to connect children with nature through working with Forest Schools and nurseries. The group hope to work with the trained Forest School practitioners within schools delivering outdoor learning and this will add a particularly important element to the new curriculum for both children and teachers alike.” If you would like to know more, please contact Kath or Chris Childe, head of the Howe of Fife FEI cluster group: k.webster@btcv.org.uk chris.childe@scottishnativewoods.org.uk www.foresteducation.org.uk

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Taking the initiative in West Kilbride

Glenside volunteer Elaine cutting back some Buddleia at Garratt Gardens.

To reverse the decline in their community the residents of West Kilbride decided to take the pro-active approach and have launched a number of innovative schemes in recent years. Their latest venture is the Glenside Green Gym, as volunteer Kay Hall explains. West Kilbride Community Initiative Ltd was established in 1998 and is managed by a Board of Trustees, all of whom are volunteers. The organisation was created to regenerate our village, on the north Ayrshire coast, which was suffering from empty shops and lack of investment. A number of projects lie under the Initiative umbrella – Craft Studios and the Initiative Centre, the Gallery in Happyhills, the Village Hall, a new craft centre development called the Barony, and the Environmental Group. It was because of the Environmental Group’s efforts that on 4 March 2011 the Glenside Green Gym was launched. Initially the Environmental Group's purpose was to restore civic pride in the village by enhancing the streets and surroundings with floral displays and hanging baskets, tree planting, creation of woodland meadows, installation of natural sculptures, and by developing community gardens. The group is now also committed to increasing environmental awareness amongst village residents and other local groups.

Spring 2011

As part of the Initiative two fields by the village Glen were purchased to be retained as natural open spaces for the community. One field is planted with a range of trees and in the other we have recently planted a large community orchard with the assistance of local organisations and other volunteers. We also own a quarry called Garratt Gardens which we wish to enhance as a secluded wild area. We hope to provide a community meeting place in these gardens so we may organise workshops and environmental activities.

advertise each week in the local papers and on the community website at www.S1westkilbride.com

As with all projects the work has grown and grown and we have been looking at ways of encouraging other folk on board. When we found out about BTCV’s Green Gym we recognised its many strengths for enhancing health, fitness and friendships – and one of the biggest rewards would be to offer us many more sets of helping hands. So, with funding from NHS Ayrshire & Arran and Healthy North Ayrshire, we took out a Community Licence* with BTCV and the Glenside Green Gym was born.

www.westkilbride.org.uk

Three of us have trained as Green Gym leaders and six members attended a first aid course. As part of the licence BTCV staff provide support, including ‘taster’ sessions, for the first five weeks – time to get the project up and running with the necessary paperwork and risk assessments. We were also delighted to receive a £350 Support Grant from the Chestnut Fund enabling us to purchase a selection of tools for our volunteers to use. We’ve planned a variety of activities and

Our very first Green Gym session started in the rain but the two hours flew by and we felt very virtuous for the rest of the day! So, roll on the weeks ahead. And come and see West Kilbride for yourself – a lot has changed for the much, much better. For information contact Kay Hall at 01294 823430 or kaymartinh@dsl.pipex.com

*The Community Licence was arranged through David Graham, Development Manager (Healthy Communities), who says: “I’m delighted to help Kay and her fellow volunteers and wish them all the best for the future. They are just the type of group we want to help set up their own self-sustaining Green Gym. Through the Community Licence we can provide the necessary training and support. If any other group would like information about running their own Green Gym they can contact me at 01292 525250, or e-mail d.graham@btcv.org.uk”

Further information at: www.btcv.org/greengym 5


For Trees, for Wildlife, for People! UTE PENNY

Clearing brash: Simon Bell DCWG Convenor (left) and Isobel Knox (right). In the centre is a resident who was simply passing by but decided on the spur of the moment to muck in – community spirit in action! list’, the necessary forms were completed, and hey presto – a few months down the line, Chris Peach and his band of BTCV Edinburgh volunteers are working wonders in Lochend Woods: making habitat piles, clearing debris from the burn, digging pond-like ‘scrapes’ to improve the wetland habitat, plus three days of tree planting in the pipeline.

As well as recently joining BTCV’s Community Network, DCWG is a member of the Community Woodland Association (CWA), the all-Scotland body promoting healthy communities through participation in woodland related activities. DCWG’s motto is ‘For Trees, for Wildlife, for People’, which we hope reflects the CWA ethos. Since its inauguration in 2000, DCWG has always endeavoured to fulfil its community commitments and obligations. After a lifetime of being privately owned, when members of the public were not made welcome, (indeed, people were chased away by the keeper!) Lochend Woods suffered the indignity of having some 300 trees felled in the late 1990s, to make way for a road. It then suddenly found itself surrounded by housing development, and thus was fated to experience an unprecedented human footprint. The need for a management group became clear and so DCWG was formed. A management plan was drawn up in that first year – yet it was not until 2010 that the opportunity to implement it would happen. Negotiations with landowners and solicitors took until April 2007 to be completed,

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followed by a protracted process of funding applications to the Forestry Commission, before finally, in late 2009, the green light was granted and DCWG could start work on the ground. Thus, in February and March 2010, we had a full month of thinning and felling of non-native species in the woods, with heavy machinery making quite an impact – and, it has to be said, a bit of a mess! While the logs were sold to raise funds for future management operations, the branches trimmed from the trunks were left lying on the forest floor. We were aware that this ‘brash’ would rot down eventually, but the cosmetic appearance of the woods was untidy and unkempt. DCWG committee set to the task of encouraging volunteers to come in and tidy up, making nice neat piles of brash but just as we were starting to feel overwhelmed with the huge task before us, Anna Dennis from BTCV Edinburgh made contact. East Lothian Council Countryside Rangers had flagged us up to BTCV as potential partners. The timing of this couldn’t have been more perfect. BTCV sourced £3,000 from a charitable trust to fund their input so we gave Anna our ‘shopping

chris peach

In towns and villages across Scotland, people are joining together to care for their local woodlands, a good example being the Dunbar Community Woodland Group (DCWG). Dunbar is a small fishing port on the East Lothian coast, 30 miles from Edinburgh, and is famous as the birthplace of John Muir, the Scots American naturalist, writer and activist, who is widely considered as the founder of the conservation movement. It’s fitting then that, in the spirit of John Muir, Dunbar’s residents are active in conserving their local woods, as Isobel Knox, DCWG committee member, explains.

Before the ownership transfer in 2007, DCWG’s activities were limited to an annual litter pick. This tradition continues, every February, with around 30 people turning out to help. Community events in the woods started in 2006 with an Easter Egg hunt for the little ones, and then on Midsummer’s Day the woods provided a magical setting for Dunbar Youth Drama Group’s production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

BTCV’s Edinburgh volunteers take a break. In the following years the energies of the DWCG committee were taken up with administrative tasks and funding applications, but in April 2010 the woods were host to an event run by Dunbar Arts Trust. The work of various artists were on display in the woods, with music and poetry, plus wildflower planting, woodland crafts and forest food, and for the children there was a fairy trail, stories at the fairy glade and fairy biscuits to decorate. The event was a great success. This year, Beltane Day, Sunday 1 May, will witness another opportunity to celebrate nature, regeneration of the woods, and sustainability. With woodland and rural crafts, music, poetry and stories, kids activities, forest food and local produce, this promises to be another great event in the magical surroundings of Dunbar’s Lochend Woods. Admission is free and all are welcome! Find out more at www.dunbarwoods.org www.communitywoods.org

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Developing Green Routes Gardening is not only a nurturing activity for plants – people benefit too. That’s certainly the experience of ‘Green Routes’ in Stirlingshire, as Gillian Forster, Development Manager, explains.

“It’s really interesting and I get a lot out of it. I like growing things and seeing things take shape from sowing seeds in the greenhouse through to harvesting.” – Lee GILLIAN FORSTER

Picking the produce, (from left to right), students Neil and Sam with volunteer Sarah.

Some of the Green Routes ‘regulars’. Standing left to right: Chris, Willie, Luke and Lee, with Craig kneeling. Green Routes is a budding social enterprise within the Walled Garden at Gartmore House near the villages of Gartmore and Aberfoyle. We offer hands-on training in horticulture for young people with learning difficulties which takes place in our organically managed community garden.

“I come out three days a week and particularly like weeding and digging!” – Luke Green Routes was established to fill the training gap between the aspirations of young people with learning difficulties to find employment, and their readiness for the world of work. Gardening has been chosen as the vehicle to achieve these aims because it’s proven to be a powerful and flexible medium for improving both physical and mental health, and for enhancing the quality of life. Although our focus is on horticulture skills we aim to teach our young students a range of transferable work skills within a real working environment. Myself, and several of the trainees are undertaking Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) (Level 2 in Horticulture) and this is something we would like to develop further, hopefully becoming an accredited SVQ centre.

Spring 2011

We have a group of dedicated volunteers who turn out every week in all weathers to tackle a range of tasks from working in the garden to mentoring our students. We also offer a range of volunteering opportunities in a supportive environment for those who would otherwise find volunteering difficult or impossible. The garden provides year-long interest and varied activities allowing people to contribute according to their particular skills and interests. We began work in the garden in October 2007 and benefited from a BTCV Chestnut Fund Start-up and Support grant. This was a huge benefit providing a much needed boost, including essential tools, at the start of our venture. We also take out the BTCV insurance ensuring our staff, trainees, volunteers and visitors, all have the necessary cover. In March 2009 we secured funding to erect two large poly-tunnels which provide valuable indoor teaching areas as well as a lengthened growing season for our vegetables. We established interest in developing a community orchard and our first planting day was held in November 2008 when thirty apple trees were planted. Regular pruning and maintenance workshops are held to encourage further community participation.

Our ducks and a selection of hens, including a trio of Scots Dumpies, provide added interest for our students and volunteers. Our first duck shed, a patio area, plant beds, and a tractor tyre herb garden, were all constructed by volunteers organised by another BTCV Network member, New Caledonian Woodlands. 2010 was a very busy and successful year in the garden. We created eight teaching beds, two for each main vegetable family, giving us the opportunity to practise annual crop rotation. Raised beds were built providing easy planting for those with poor mobility. Between the poly-tunnels, the Rural Skills group from McLaren High School in Callander planted a bed of perennial bushes on one side and Green Routes volunteers made a glorious display of annuals flourish on the other. Much work was done on paths and steps and this has made access for wheelbarrows much easier. Soft fruit bushes have been planted and fruit cages erected. A fruiting hedge was planted alongside the fence – hedgerow jelly is our aim! Our next step is the further development of the lower garden, enrolling more students and encouraging more volunteers. We will continue to do all that we can to keep Green Routes a friendly, welcoming environment for everyone who comes to work in and visit our garden. For further information contact Gillian at gforster@greenroutes.info

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Transition Black Isle – a walk on the positive side

“If you want to go fast, go alone: if you want to go far, go together.”

By Wendy Price, TBI member We hear so much controversy about climate change these days. Some think it is a vastly exaggerated threat to our civilisation while others, though totally convinced by the scientific evidence, feel powerless to do anything worthwhile to counteract its impact. To a large extent when I met several other likeminded people on the Black Isle in February 2009 I fell into that latter category, sure that our civilization was heading for a crunch point but despairing that any small effort I could take would make the slightest difference. How wrong I was. Two years later and having gone through a steep learning curve and a fair amount of hard work I am proud to say I belong to Transition Black Isle. In that short time I think I can honestly say that we have had a considerable impact on the area. And where exactly is that area? The Black Isle is a rich agricultural spur of 30 miles or so between the two firths of Beauly and Cromarty, still attached to mainland Scotland, so hardly an island, and only a stone’s throw from the Highland capital, Inverness.

“The transition movement positively encourages people to start taking charge of their own community” TBI, as it is known locally, is part of the national network of Transition Towns started by Rob Hopkins in Devon and now emerging in all parts of the UK. Working very much at a community level, the transition movement positively encourages people to start taking charge of their own community by building a more sustainable way of living for the future. It doesn’t negate what local and national governments are doing, but builds from the bottom up to meet their efforts. And the emphasis is on positivity – a can-do mentality which becomes quite infectious. The one new card in the Transition pack for me was ‘Peak Oil’, the point at which demand outstrips supply of this precious fossil fuel, a point which many feel we have already reached. When we look around us and realise how much of our material world is dominated by oil, whether it be transporting or fertilising our food, creating the fabric we are wearing or the computer on which we are working, the thought that our days are numbered in the

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Planting-up some new raised beds

But perhaps the most encouraging thing of all is that we have established an excellent dialogue with Highland Council and our community councils, with our local university and with the NHS. This means that, while we are working at the grassroots level we know that we are being supported higher up the ladder by the efforts of these organisations. As an African saying tells us “If you want to go fast, go alone: if you want to go far, go together.” We will go far, I’m sure, by going together.

use of this intense form of energy is extremely daunting. It really starts to make sense to find ways of doing without it, because the more we get hooked on its millions of uses the more difficult it will be to do without it. So, how is TBI helping to make the Black Isle more sustainable? It’s a huge task so we are just taking one step at a time, and making sure we keep a positive attitude. We have run a year-long course helping people to grow their own fruit and veg using two community gardens we have set up as bases. We have held two ‘Greening Homes and Gardens’ events, opening 30 homes with renewable heating to the public so that they can see first hand how effective it is. We are starting a new project helping people in fuel poverty take steps to increase efficiency in their homes using simple draught prevention measures, and we have set up a community market where people can buy their bread, meat, fruit and veg from local farmers and suppliers, so if supermarket shelves start looking bare we won’t need to panic because we have our own source of food. Local people have packed the halls where our public debates on energy etc. have been held and by using well-known broadcasters to take the chair we ensured panellists didn’t evade the tricky questions! Funds from the Climate Challenge Fund set up by the Scottish Government have played a major part in financing our ambitious programme and our 77 members help keep the positive momentum going. For all these wide-ranging activities BTCV’s insurance scheme came into its own, giving us reassurance that we were well covered, and at a good price too. And one of our members attended a BTCV Community Mentors course (see page 3) which was very useful.

To find out more have a look at our website: www.transitionblackisle.org TBI are active members of the Highland Environmental Network (HEN) which: l Promotes environmental education in its widest sense, in all sectors of the Highland community. l Facilitates sharing of environmental information and expertise. l Encourages the involvement of individuals and community groups in environmental action and debate. www.highlandenvironment.org.uk HEN is chaired by Jenny Sleeman, BTCV Scotland’s Development Manager for Rural Communities, who is based in BTCV’s Highland office, in Munlochy, on the Black Isle.

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Park life

By Julie Hoggarth, BTCV Scotland Area Development Officer

Today, Newton Park in Ayr is an attractive greenspace much used by local people of all generations, but ten years ago it was a very different story. At that time the park was little more than a neglected open field suffering from vandalism, dog fouling, and often used as a rubbish dump. In 2002 South Ayrshire Council’s Parks Department pulled together a steering group to take forward the concept of upgrading the park. A public meeting was held and soon afterwards the steering group became the ‘Friends of Newton Park’. Since then, the Friends of Newton Park have worked with South Ayrshire Council, Community Police, local councillors, dog owners and walking groups, and others, to improve the park for the benefit of the local community. There are now 80 Friends of Newton Park, including 10 regular committee members who meet once a month to discuss future projects, events, problems etc. The committee keep the community informed of what’s happening through the ‘Newton Newsletter’ and minutes of meetings are circulated to local residents. And, the group have also recently established an online presence through their website (see below). So, what’s changed since the Friends of Newton Park was first established? Improvements in the park have included: l Pond repaired and relined l Island on pond improved for wildlife l Playground equipment replaced l Native trees planted l Wildlife friendly areas created l Two shelters installed l Parkwatch and safety scheme started l Recycled benches and tables installed l Interpretation boards erected l Bulbs planted l Security lights replaced l Badminton/volleyball/paddle tennis area created l Dog bins and a dog fountain installed l A highlight of the year is the annual gala day held in the park The group is currently busy promoting healthy exercise in the park having installed adult exercise equipment funded from Awards for All and The Robertson Trust.

Spring 2011

Local residents are very supportive of the Friends and are keen to provide new ideas and feedback to the group on a regular basis. BTCV has also been heavily involved, particularly the staff and volunteers from the nearby Ayr office, based in SAC Auchincruive. One of the Friends’ committee says: “BTCV has been an enormous help to Friends of Newton Park over the years, providing plenty of advice and support. At the practical level BTCV volunteers have helped with digging, strimming, weeding, tree planting and general gardening work. This has been especially helpful as many Newton Park volunteers are elderly and struggle with the physical work. At the other end of the age spectrum BTCV Volunteer Officers helped the Newton Youth Forum construct floating pallets (see above) for ducks and ducklings so they wouldn’t get eaten by the gulls! And BTCV has worked with local school pupils in planting bulbs and trees. Many of the native plants used in the park have been bought from

BTCV’s Jupiter Wildflower Nursery, exploiting Nursery Manager Nancy McIntyre’s expertise to decide what plants to use.” In 2010 BTCV, on behalf of the Friends, successfully applied to ‘Community Wildlife’, the Big Lottery Fund’s scheme to bring people together to enjoy wildlife in their local area. The £9500 awarded will be used to construct a sensory garden featuring wheelchair-friendly flower beds, seating areas and interpretation panels, some with Braille lettering for the visually impaired. Looking ahead, BTCV is also hoping to source funding for a Green Gym programme in the park. Through their dedication, hard work and community spirit, the Friends of Newton Park have helped transform a neglected corner of Ayr into a much used and valued community asset. And they’re not finished yet! For further information visit www.newton-park-ayr.org.uk

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Active in Aberdeen

By Grace Banks, Secretary, Friends of Sunnybank Park

Things are definitely looking up for Sunnybank Park.

In recent years the park had taken on a neglected air, but over the past 18 months volunteers have been helping with litter picks and general maintenance, which has encouraged local users, and shown the wider community that people do care. At the moment the park is well used by dog walkers and footballers and we hope the work being carried out over the coming months will encourage more interest and greater enjoyment of the park. There have already been picnics, food forages, Forest School programmes, organized bird watching and other events taking place. Anyone visiting the park for the first time has commented on what a lovely and secluded area it is. After some consultation, it was agreed that the Friends’ committee would seek funding to provide allotments and a safer environment

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“…we are delighted this green jewel now has the opportunity to develop into a vibrant community asset for local people of all ages to enjoy.” for the community to use the area. To this end finance has been secured from the Climate Challenge Fund for the allotments and fencing to provide around 16 plots for keen local gardeners, including a bee allotment – what a buzz that will bring! Also, Aberdeen Greenspace is partnering us to improve the park over the coming months with new paths, fencing, a boardwalk, and the development of a pond. And, to help move things along, a BTCV Green Gym recently started, organized by Yvonne Stephan, Volunteer Development Officer, who says: ”It’s great to be working at Sunnybank Park. The Green Gym is funded for a year by Aberdeen Forward so there’s plenty of opportunity for anyone interested, particularly local residents, to come along and lend a hand. Over the coming year we’ll be involved in all sorts of activities such as habitat improvement, path work, stone cairn construction, Rosebay Willowherb control, various maintenance tasks, plus bird, bat and insect box building. As well as cementing our

relationship with Aberdeen Forward I’m sure the Green Gym will lead to other activities in partnership with the Friends of Sunnybank Park. The Green Gym operates every Monday, from 10am to 2.30pm. All welcome! For further details contact us at 01224 724 884, or e-mail y.stephan@btcv.org.uk” Many thanks to all those who have supported us on the journey so far, and we look forward with anticipation to seeing this lovely place flourish and bloom. And this is just the beginning! Events will be happening throughout the year, which everyone is welcome to attend, so please join us on Facebook, check out our website, or get in touch! Call: Grace Banks on 07790 29828 E-mail: sun@sunnybankpark.org.uk Visit: www.sunnybankpark.org.uk On Facebook at: www.facebook.com/home. php?sk=group_135544933162397

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main photo: GRACE BANKS.

It has been a long, hard road to arrive at this point, “But,” said Sinclair Laing, Chair of the Friends of Sunnybank Park, “we are delighted this green jewel now has the opportunity to develop into a vibrant community asset for local people of all ages to enjoy.”

Inset: yvonne stephan

Aberdeen’s Sunnybank Park has just received a new lease of life – a five-year agreement has been negotiated with Aberdeen City Council for the community to look after and improve this lovely greenspace.


Wild about Howwood! CRAIG CRAWFORD

improved three areas of open space within the village, which have required different approaches:

A key aim of HWW is to promote and publicise paths and walking routes in the village and surrounding countryside. Five routes have been developed which cater for different fitness levels ranging from ‘easy’, a short walk of 30 minutes, to a ‘strenuous’ 3 hour hike. Whatever their length, each walk has fine views, historic remains and natural features to interest local folk and visitors alike. For example, the shortest walk leads to the popular local landmark, The Temple, an 18th century tower (picture above) whose purpose isn’t entirely clear, one theory being that it was built for the local gentry to take refreshments whilst looking out over the surrounding deer park. The longest walk leads up from the village over moorland to an Iron Age fort at Walls Hill. HWW has produced a leaflet giving details of the walk routes and what can be seen around them. The leaflet is available on the Howwood village website (see below).

l The ‘Isthmus’, between Midton Road and Beith Road bus stop, has been plantedup with a selection of ground cover shrubs, with a view to minimising future maintenance.

Since the walks were established with signage and waymarkers, HWW have been represented on the South Renfrewshire Access Networks Initiative (SRANI). SRANI has co-ordinated the construction of new off-road paths in nearby Lochwinnoch and envisage a circular countryside route incorporating some of the now well-established HWW routes. As well as its access activities HWW has also

Spring 2011

l The ‘Triangle’ is considered to be the focal point of the village and comprises a grassy area with bench style seats, beside raised flower beds. It has proved a popular spot for people to meet, look at the HWW orientation board, and have a seat to enjoy the surrounding views.

l The ‘Rhombus’ lies opposite the Howwood Inn. This site has two raised beds which include a sensory garden but is the most problematic area, maintenance wise. Japanese Knotweed has been on the site for many years and is sprayed by contractors three times a year between April and August. We’ve been advised not to simply cut it down as this causes it to spread further, so it’s more difficult to maintain this area. But we persist! As well as the above, HWW has installed and maintains the colourful flower tubs which greet visitors on the five approach roads into the village. For the practical activities undertaken by its members HWW is insured through BTCV. But the work doesn’t end with volunteers getting their hands dirty. As with most community organisations HWW has to raise funds through various means: manning fete stalls, selling bird food, seeking sponsorship, plus grant applications to interested organisations. HWW members can therefore contribute to the group’s activities according to their particular talents.

Above: Pointing the way to the Temple. Below: Green Gym volunteers planting a tree in the Rhombus garden.

JULIE WILSON

Howwood Wildlife and Woodlands (HWW) was formed for local people to conserve and enjoy the natural heritage in and around the Renfrewshire village of Howwood, a few miles south of Paisley. Here, HWW member Craig Crawford takes up the story.

Practical help HWW, like many small groups, relies wholly on volunteers and gratefully accepts any offers of assistance which may be available such as the BTCV teams who reduce the burden of our workload. BTCV’s input is organised by Julie Wilson, Renfrewshire Green Gym Co-ordinator, who says: “Our Green Gym volunteers have been helping HWW since April 2009, making 14 visits to Howwood to help with a variety of tasks. The group have helped look after the Rhombus garden, cleared the Triangle’s raised beds for replanting, taken part in the village’s annual litter pick, and also helped reinstate waymarkers on one of the walking routes. The volunteers always enjoy working in Howwood, and it’s nice to see the results of all our work there. And, as spring arrives, we’ll hopefully soon be back out to help HWW once again.” HWW contact: rosee@howwood.com The HWW walks leaflet can be found on the village website at www.howwood.com

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ADAA – it’s a plot! Nowadays, people increasingly like to know where their food comes from. The most direct solution is to grow your own but what if you don’t have a garden? The traditional answer was to rent an allotment plot which could be found on sites in most towns and villages, tucked away down a lane or nestling beside the railway tracks. As well as the fruit and vegetables which they yielded, allotment holders also benefitted from the fresh air, exercise, and comradeship with fellow plot holders. And not to mention the peace and quiet – an escape from the telly and life’s other distractions. But, as leisure and food buying habits changed, fewer people kept an allotment, and many sites were also sold off to developers. The result was ever fewer plots. But allotments are back! Despite their grandad image, allotments are popular again with men, and increasingly women, of all ages. Allotments are even cool! The problem these days is finding one. Most allotment sites have long waiting lists and many areas have no allotments at all. Faced with this situation some people have taken the direct approach and made their own. That’s what a group of folk in Fife have done, plus a lot else besides. Alistair Macleod of Anstruther and District Allotment Association (ADAA), explains: ADAA was established in March 2010 by a group of residents with the aim of setting up and running new allotments in the East Neuk of Fife. As a community group we were also keen to help local conservation and civic improvement projects, to improve our

ADAA members clearing the Dreelside site and, left, taking a break. neighbourhood and promote food growing within the community. Once we were established, interest in allotments grew rapidly and by May 2010 we had been offered our first area of land at Cambo House, just outside Crail. This was subsequently divided into 6 plots and allocated to members of the group. After ADAA joined BTCV’s Community Network we cracked on with the work over the summer to improve entrance areas to Anstruther with planting displays. And we supported the local primary school with their horticultural projects. We continued our search for further allotment sites and by September 2010 we had been offered another site by a local landowner. After lots of hard work by ADAA members and the assistance of local farmers and builders, we were able to create 17 new plots, including one for our local schools. With Anstruther gaining a Silver Gilt and ‘Best Newcomer’ in the Beautiful Scotland In Bloom Awards in 2010, and a growing waiting list for plots, the group has now set its sights on developing further sites as well as continuing its support for local horticultural enhancement initiatives. BTCV Scotland’s presence in Fife is coordinated by Kath Webster, who says: “I’m really pleased to see ADAA make such great

progress. We loaned the group some tools and gave them a little advice on rabbit fencing, which I hope was useful in deterring the pesky critters! In the past year or so we’ve been developing our own allotment schemes with Green Gym volunteers and school pupils, so we know well the many benefits that allotments can bring to everyone involved. I’m therefore looking forward to forging further links with the local community and ADAA in the future.” Thanks to ADAA the future’s looking bright for people in this corner of Fife who are passionate about growing their own food. For further information visit www.anstrutherallotments.blogspot.com

We have a cunning plan...

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Food aid for bees, butterflies, and not forgetting the moths!

As the dark clouds of yet another storm raps around us here at the Jupiter Centre in Grangemouth, I start to wish for the summer and worry about our wildlife. The past winter was a hard one for both wildlife and ourselves (even with central heating!), and each year we hear about more rapid declines in wildlife populations. But what can we do to help? Emergency blankets would be of little use, but we can start a food relief programme for some of our most vulnerable species.

Our other bees including the Bumblebee also have a sorry story, with two UK Bumblebee species becoming extinct over the past 70 years. However, we still have 24 types of Bumblebee buzzing around, but all are facing problems, not from a parasite this time, but from our own actions. Over the years we have slowly removed the places where bees live,

Spring 2011

A host of insects use this plant as a food source and for 15 types of insect it’s their main feeding plant. Its name comes from the old English for cowpat which is a shame for such a delicate plant. It likes to live in well-drained soil in a sunny spot so is very suitable for most gardens. According to folklore you will also be doing the fairies some good as they like to hide in Cowslips when they are scared.

Early spring flowers are the first food source for some of our bees and butterflies (not forgetting those moths!), so let’s get the food relief going by planting some spring flowers. There is a familiar medley of garden flowers for the spring, but for bees and butterflies going wild is best, but what to choose? Here are my top three flowers for spring:

Common Dog Violet

Primrose

wildlifeinsight.com

Recently there have been many articles in the newspapers about the decline in our bee populations but there are actually two stories being told. The first is about our Honey Bee which is a wild insect but one we have learned to care for to harvest its honey. Our Honey Bees are facing attack from a parasitic wasp from the Far East, and once they have the bug they are open to all sorts of disease causing their decline.

The story of our butterflies and moths is a little more complicated. In Southern Britain many butterfly species are in decline although in the north, including Scotland, the situation seems to be more encouraging, but we can’t be complacent. We currently have 33 butterflies and over 1300 moths flitting around our countryside. Many are passing visitors to our gardens. Even a modest sized garden can have 100 moths taking advantage of the flowers and trees. But what can we do to help them?

PAUL KIRKLAND

In our gardens it would be hard to help everything but we can start with the bees, butterflies, and let’s not forget our moths. So, we want to run a food programme but what are we actually trying to help? Firstly, let’s get our facts sorted out, starting with the bees. There has been a lot of talk about bees recently and a lot of confusion. Bees are a huge group of insects with over 20,000 different types worldwide. 110 types of bee live in Scotland which includes the familiar Honey Bee and Bumblebee but also wasp-like and fly-like bees we never notice, or even think of as bees.

Cowslip

through changes in agriculture and to other loss of habitat.

wild about britain

Many of our insects have had a tough time of it recently but there are ways we can help, especially in the garden. Here, Heath Brown who helps manage the BTCV wildflower nursery at the Jupiter Wildlife Centre, has some planting tips.

This is our first flower of spring and the main food source for 27 types of moths and two of our butterfly species. It’s the early nectar everyone’s after, and many other insects will take advantage of the first drink of spring. The Primrose needs these visitors for itself to survive with night visiting moths being its pollinator. It’s best to plant Primrose in clusters in dappled shade. So the best thing we can do is bring this plant into our gardens and the sight of pretty pale yellow flowers will also brighten our days especially after the gloom of winter.

These are very pretty plants with flowers that vary in colour from blush violet to white. An individual plant is easily overlooked but when planted in profusion they have great impact. These small plants are home to 13 types of insect, eight of which are butterflies. In this case small really is beautiful. The Dog Violet’s natural habitat is the woodland so plant it in a shady corner of your garden, and if it’s a little damp, even better.

So, if you have a garden, why not plant a swath of my top three wildflowers, and we can get the food relief programme moving. If you want to purchase any of these plants, call the Jupiter Wildflower Nursery on 07764 655710. Nancy McIntyre, the Nursery Manager, will be pleased to explain what’s on offer and provide helpful tips and advice.

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JOHN MCFARLANE.

Last but not least By John McFarlane, BTCV Scotland Environment Development Officer The final four candidates have joined BTCV’s Natural Talent programme providing paid ‘apprenticeships’ for people passionate about the natural world, enabling them to spend 12-15 months on a particular area of ecological study in Scotland and Northern Ireland. I first heard about Natural Talent in November 2008. To be honest, at the time I didn’t fully understand or appreciate how valuable its apprentices would be to BTCV and other environmental organisations. But, over the past four years the programme, backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has gone from strength to strength and has been a real success story for everyone involved. I began co-ordinating the programme in March 2008, since when it’s been both a privilege and a pleasure to work with so many great people.

university I studied Environmental Politics, Geography and History, and then had a thirst to become involved in practical conservation. I have previously worked and volunteered on bogs and marshes, in pine forests and in the uplands, undertaking various roles from practical work to species monitoring and protection, and people management. This is going to be a great experience for me which I think will be life enhancing!”

In January 2011 we appointed our final four apprentices to the programme, joining the six currently in post. So, who are the Fab Four and what will they be doing? Here, they each give a glimpse of themselves and their new roles:

Daisy Shepperd will be concentrating on Lowland Raised Bogs: “I’m based in Stirling and my apprenticeship is hosted jointly by Buglife and Butterfly Conservation Scotland, so I have access to a goldmine of expertise! I’m originally from London but life in the big city didn’t do it for me so I left it all to live in Scotland. I’ve had many unusual and interesting jobs, from zoo keeper to hedgehog trapper for Scottish Natural Heritage in the Outer Hebrides. I also studied Wildlife Conservation at university, but nothing comes close to the experience of being outside and getting your hands dirty! Bogs are amazing places but not enough people get the chance to really explore them. They are home to fantastic invertebrate species, and I’m going to enjoy learning all about them this year.”

“I’ll also be on the trail of the rarest wood ant species to see how this ant is coping in Scotland…” Hayley Wiswell is the Caledonian Pinewood Invertebrates apprentice: “I’m originally from St Helens near Liverpool, I became hooked on insects following my university degree and my MSc project on beetles in the Cairngorms which sealed my passion for pinewood creepy-crawlies! Based with the Macaulay Institute in Aberdeen, I’ll also be working alongside the RSPB and the National Trust for Scotland in the gorgeous Cairngorms National Park. I’m going to explore the relationship between wood ants and their forest home, including how they interact with other invertebrates living there. I’ll also be on the trail of the rarest wood ant species to see how this ant is coping in Scotland, as well as helping conservation groups to promote the importance of wood ants to land managers and the wider public.” The new Saltmarsh apprentice is Claire Foot: “This is a new habitat for me and so there will be lots to learn, experience and see. I’ll be based with the RSPB in Inverness, and will work on their saltmarsh sites at the bays of Culbin, Udale and Nigg. At

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“Bogs are amazing places”

“I just hope the biting insects of the Amazon have prepared me for the terror of the Scottish midge!” And finally, the fourth of this last batch of apprentices is Hannah Urpeth, studying Soil Biodiversity: “I’ll mainly be working with soil invertebrates at the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute in Aberdeen but first I’m spending six week at the Scottish Crop Research Institute in Dundee where I’ll be straight out into the field to do soil sampling and I can’t wait to get stuck in! As well as my degree, a BSc (Hons) Conservation and Environment, I’ve been lucky enough to gain field experience in lots of lovely locations, from the wilds of Equador to the wilds of

The latest (last!) Natural Talent apprentices, from left to right: Hayley, Daisy, Hannah and Claire.

Essex. I just hope the biting insects of the Amazon have prepared me for the terror of the Scottish midge!” Natural Talent has opened doors for BTCV Scotland and given us a voice in the wider conservation sector. And, the Natural Talent apprentices have provided the inspiration for our new ‘Natural Communities’ scheme, again supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (see page 4). Looking ahead, BTCV are partners in the exciting Citizen Science programme to be rolled out in 2011, hosting a Citizen Science co-ordinator at our Stirling HQ. More information about this SEPAfunded initiative will be given in the next Bulletin and on BTCV’s website. So, thirty two Natural Talent apprentices later, WOW! What a great bunch of individuals. Each one is a shining example of how you can turn dedication, passion and enthusiasm for a specialist subject into a real expertise. Specialist subjects such as Lichenology, Hymenoptera, Bryology, Hoverflies, Grassland management, Coleoptera, Machair management and Riverflies are just some of the specialist Taxa and Habitats that have been covered by the scheme. On behalf of BTCV, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank The Heritage Lottery Fund, all of our apprentices, their mentors, supervisors, placement providers and everyone who has supported and contributed to the success of the Natural Talent programme. Without you, this would not have been achievable.

Keep up to date with the work of the apprentices on the Natural Talent blog at www.btcv.org/naturaltalent

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Coming and going Dave Barfoot is our 2011 Seasonal Project Leader and is running this year’s programme of BTCV working holidays in Scotland. The holidays typically involve 10 or so volunteers, who come from far and wide to spend a week on a conservation project, often in locations a wee bit off the beaten track. Prior to this, Dave was a Volunteer Officer (VO) in our Edinburgh office so has plenty of experience of working with volunteers and the practicalities of organising projects. As Seasonal Project Leader, Dave will be working in locations the length and breadth of the country, including the Isle of Colonsay, the Knoydart peninsula, Galloway, and the Isle of May. “I’m really happy to have landed this post as I love working with BTCV. I started off as a VO with no idea of what it involved but discovered that I really enjoyed it. I love Scotland and can’t wait to get on with running the holidays, especially in the really wild places!” For details of these and BTCV holiday projects throughout the UK and abroad, visit www.btcv.org/shop

Pretty as a picture

Pictured here are the proud winners of the 2010 Focus Environment competition, which showcases the photographic talent of Scotland’s secondary school pupils. The annual competition encourages Scotland’s young folk to capture on camera what the environment means to them. Focus Environment is a partnership between Chevron, BTCV Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The winning young snappers are pictured during the Focus Environment Awards evening, held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. The young folk are seen with some of their winning photos which can also be glimpsed on the display panels at the rear. This colourful display is on tour at locations throughout Scotland over the coming months. To see the winning and commended photos, plus a diary of the tour dates and venues, and for details of Focus Environment 2011, visit: www.focusenvironment.com Congratulations to Jenny Adams who gained a Bronze award in the YouthLink Scotland Youth Worker of the Year Awards 2011. Over the past year or so Jenny has been expanding and strengthening our work with young people to ensure they have the best possible experience through volunteering with BTCV Scotland. So, well done Jenny! If you have any suggestions about our developing role with young people, Jenny can be contacted at j.adams@btcv.org.uk or 07764 655637.

Heidi Quinn working with youngsters. Heidi Quinn has moved on after five years with BTCV Scotland in Glasgow. Heidi decided it was time for a change of scene and so is starting afresh with family in France, and after that, who knows? During her time with us Heidi engaged with a wide spectrum of volunteers on a variety of projects including allotment schemes, Green Gyms, working with asylum seekers and refugees, and running environmental programmes for young people, including ‘Get Started in the Environment’, with the Prince’s Trust. Heidi contributed a great deal to the success of these programmes and her cheery personality will be greatly missed in the Glasgow office. We wish Heidi arra best or bonne chance in her new life in France. Anthony Morrow is our recently appointed Natural Communities Co-ordinator. Find out what Anthony and his new trainees are up to on page 4.

Spring 2011

New members A warm welcome to the following groups and organisations which have recently joined the Community Network as Full members: APEX Scotland Balfron Pathways Group (Stirlingshire) Buchlyvie Local Paths Group (Stirlingshire) Ecclesmachan & Threemiletown Community Council (West Lothian) Kilmaronock Community Trust (Dunbartonshire) Greenfinger Project (Fort William) Muir of Ord Environmental Group (Ross-shire) Oatlands Development Trust (Glasgow) Thornhill Community Trust (Stirlingshire) Three Village Gardening Club (Ayrshire) Water of Leith Conservation Trust (Edinburgh) West Glasgow Green Gym

And, the following organisations have joined the Network as Registered members to receive our free Bulletins, training information, etc: Bell Baxter High School (Fife) Cambo Institute (Fife) Dunbar Community Woodland Group (East Lothian) Dundee City Council Ranger Service Forestry Commission (Scottish Lowlands Forest District) Greener Leith (Edinburgh) Hillview Nursery (Paisley) Kersland School (Paisley) Mary Russell School (Paisley) Nursery Times (Paisley) Rosneath & Clynder Community Action Trust (Argyll) Sustainable Callander (Perthshire) The Prince’s Trust

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The Network Bulletin is published by BTCV Scotland. Views and opinions expressed in the Bulletin do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or BTCV. Editor: Graham Burns  e-mail g.burns@btcv.org.uk tel 0141 552 5294 ©BTCV 2011. BTCV is a Registered charity in Scotland SC039302, and England 261009. Green Gym is a Registered Trade Mark of BTCV Printed on recycled paper

BTCV SCOTLAND HEAD OFFICE Balallan House, 24 Allan Park, Stirling FK8 2QG tel 01786 479697 fax 01786 465359 e-mail Scotland@btcv.org.uk BTCV REGISTERED OFFICE Sedum House, Mallard Way, Doncaster DN4 8DB tel 01302 388883  fax 01302 311531 e-mail information@btcv.org.uk

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Help needed to clean up Scotland graham clark

Sunday 10 April 11am – 4pm Inverleith Park, Edinburgh The colourful Ecofusion Festival is back for a second year. The family-friendly free event aims to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their natural environment. Ecofusion takes place inside and around five colourful Indian marquees in the south west corner of Inverleith Park. Out in the park itself people will be able to try their hand at a variety of outdoor activities eg children will be able to create seed bombs and plant their own wildflower seeds. Within the marquees environmental, cultural heritage and multi-cultural organisations will be giving visitors the chance to take part in a wide range of nature-related activities from around the world, such as Nepalese plate making, Chinese knotting, Japanese origami and henna painting. The marquees will also reverb to the sights and sounds of a multi-cultural fusion of entertainment. Event Co-ordinator Julia Duncan of FEVA, says: ”Ecofusion is all about encouraging more people, particularly from minority groups, to access the outdoors and to engage with their environment and enjoy nature. We’ve a fantastic range of fun activities planned for all the family so we hope as many people as possible come to Inverleith Park to celebrate the outdoors and try out lots of new ways of enjoying the environment. Why don’t you join us?” Ecofusion is hosted by the City of Edinburgh Council with funding from the Scottish Government, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and Paths for All, and is being co-ordinated by FEVA and BTCV Scotland.

An appeal has been issued by Keep Scotland Beautiful to help keep our country clean and tidy in 2011. Scotland’s residents are being invited to do their bit for the environment by spending a few hours litter-picking in their neighbourhood as part of National Spring Clean. Taking part in a litter pick is a simple and fun way to make a positive, visible difference to the environment – and enjoy some fresh air at the same time. Throughout Scotland hundreds of beaches, woodlands, canal tow paths, parks and hill-sides get a timely makeover in time for the summer as thousands of volunteers unite to clean up Scotland. So why not get a team of friends and colleagues together to clean up a local ‘grot spot’ where you live or work? You can register* online via the National Spring Clean website at www.keepscotlandtidy.org/springclean, where

you will find all the information you need to organise a clean up, and Keep Scotland Beautiful will even send you a FREE Clean Up Kit to help you get started. All registered events taking place between Monday 14 March – Monday 16 May 2011 count towards the national campaign. For any National Spring Clean enquiries, please contact Campaigns Officer (Keep Scotland Tidy), Valerie Carson on 01786 468243 or e-mail: valerie.carson@ksbscotland.org.uk. * When you register, please remember to add ‘BTCV Network member’ to your organisation and as the type of group represented at your litter pick so we can keep track of the impact being made by BTCV network member groups!

bull 04.11 GB/RB.Sev

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

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Network Bulletin Spring 2011