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netw       rk bulletin Summer 2018

for TCV Scotland’s community Network

Creating a buzz with the UK Bioblitz 2018 More inside

The magic of micro-moths

The Natural Talent programme, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Trust, is run by TCV and partner organisations to increase expertise across the UK to protect our lesser known species and create awareness of the habitats that support them. More information about the current crop of trainees and their specialist topics is available at:

Kate Smith is one of the 6 trainees on TCV’s 2018 Natural Talent programme. Here, Kate explains what she hopes to achieve during her year-long placement which is focussed on peatland micro-moths. I’ve been involved with conservation projects for several years but wanted the chance to improve my field survey skills, and having always had a fascination with moths this was the perfect opportunity. I’m also studying part time for a University Certificate in Biological Recording and would ultimately love to find a role as a reserve based ecologist.

Peatlands are extremely important habitats that we have only recently begun to fully understand and appreciate. Peat bogs are formed over hundreds of years on waterlogged sites, where the lack of oxygen in the soils means that any dead vegetation doesn’t fully decompose, but instead creates compacted layers of peat. The main peat building plant species are the beautiful sphagnum mosses and peat is formed very slowly – at an average rate of around just 1mm per year. As well as being home to a wide range of wildlife species, peat bogs also store a huge amount of carbon. It’s critical that we protect our bogs as degraded peatlands release CO2 and other gasses which contribute to climate change. In addition they play a vital role in the storage of rainwater, by holding onto water and slowing its movement through the landscape these sites help to reduce the risk of flooding, while acting as a giant filter, cleaning the water as it flows through. I started my placement in mid-January which isn’t a particularly great time of year for seeing adult micro-moths so the early months were mostly spent searching for feeding signs and larva. Many micro-moth species can be found and identified by the


Early thorn moth.

Caterpillar mines in bramble leaves Some of the caterpillars that I’ve found have been collected and kept in an outdoor ‘nursery’ in order to raise the adults. This is a great way to learn about the life-cycle of the species and is sometimes necessary to help confirm identification. Once recorded, successfully reared adults can then be returned to their collection site to continue the breeding cycle. Many of these have now pupated and emerged as adults, although a few of them remain as a

caterpillar for two or three years and so will hibernate over winter and awake to feed again in spring.

photos: kate smith

My placement is with Butterfly Conservation Scotland who are based within TCV’s office in Stirling. I’m concentrating on micro-moths, especially those that are found in peatland habitats. Micro-moths are a particularly underrecorded group of insects, mostly because they are so small and some can be tricky to ID in the field. My aim for the year is to learn as much as I can about these fascinating tiny creatures, and hopefully convince a few other people that they are worth the effort too!

distinctive mines that the caterpillars make when feeding on vegetation. Others can be found by looking for their unique larval cases: the tiny caterpillars of these species make a mobile home for themselves so they have a protective ‘shell’ to live in and feed from. These cases are only a few millimetres long and are constructed from sections nibbled from the leaves of the caterpillar’s food plant mixed with the caterpillar’s own silk. The majority of caterpillars are very particular about the plants they will feed on, so a little botanical knowledge can also be helpful when surveying for moths.

With summer sunshine and mild nights there have been lots of moths, large and small, to be found flying out on the peatbogs, and a visit to nearby Wester Moss at Fallin never fails to provide new micro-moth species to get to know. As well as regular trips to Wester Moss with light traps and sweep nets, I’ve also been out ‘mothing’ on sites around the country. Back in March I visited Islay as part of Butterfly Conservation’s ‘Bog Squad’ of practical volunteers and in June I attended the annual Scottish Entomology Gathering near Loch Lomond. More recently I took part in one of the Chris Packham Bioblitz events, at Dalmellington Moss in Ayrshire. Essentially, everywhere I go I keep a couple of small tubes to hand, as micro-moths can be found just about anywhere, if you take a moment to notice! As well as surveying and recording moths, I’ve been getting involved in a variety of volunteering and public events, with both TCV and Butterfly Conservation. These included Gardening Scotland, where we encouraged gardeners to consider moths and butterflies when choosing plant for their gardens, and a Wild Wednesday event organised by West Lothian Council. These are great opportunities to engage with different groups of people and show off some moths and caterpillars, which always go down especially well with younger visitors.

Coming up If you are interested in learning more about micro-moths, and how to spot them when you’re out and about, I will be hosting several recording events including two in September, the details of which will be on Butterfly Conservation Scotland’s Facebook page /bcscotland. You can also follow what I’m getting up to on my Twitter account @catofthewoods


Chris Packham’s UK Bioblitz 2018 Nature reserves are not enough! For ten days in July, TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham and a team of experts visited 50 wildlife sites throughout the UK to highlight the extent to which the nation’s wildlife is under threat. One of the first sites Chris travelled to was the Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre in Grangemouth, which is run by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Here, Chris was joined by staff and volunteers from the Trust itself plus TCV, Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Buglife. In total almost 100 enthusiastic Bioblitzers of all ages got up close and personal with some of the local wildlife, and recorded what they found.


Bullfinch: Francis Franklin

As well as being enjoyable opportunities for wildlife spotting, the Bioblitz campaign had a scientific purpose. The results of this 2018 audit will be recorded to create a benchmark, which will help measure the rise and fall in numbers of different species in the future. Before setting out on the Bioblitz, Chris explained further: “The UK is home to remarkable and beautiful wildlife and some wonderful habitats but it’s also in big trouble, and in the case of some species this means we are fast approaching the last chance to make a difference.” I want the 2018 UK Bioblitz Campaign to be a detailed and complete wildlife audit, a ten day snapshot of the state of our wild places and what lives there. It will celebrate some conservation successes but also reveal some of its failures. It will show that nature reserves are not enough and it will prove we need a healthier wider environment. A healthier countryside.”

Summer 2018

Chris with Bioblitzers Lucy Purbrick and TCV’s Kirsty Grant and Amanda Malcolm (who run Scotland Counts – see p 12).

Over the course of the ten days, Chris and his team weaved their way across the 50 sites. All forms of wildlife were investigated in this snapshot of the country’s wildlife: from flies to fungi, mammals to moths and birds to butterflies – ‘to pinpoint the winners and losers in the battle for Britain’s countryside.’ During his tour of the wildlife sites, Chris also promoted a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the front line, grass roots conservationists enabling UK Bioblitz 2018 to happen. Thanks to many generous donors the target of £5,000 was easily exceeded.

The Results The Grangemouth Bioblitz was hosted by the Jupiter Centre team led by Ranger Clare Toner, who said: “I’m delighted with what we managed to do on the day. The event was a great success with 197 records covering 105 species and 14 things that were identified to family or genus. Highlights included the discovery by Buglife’s Suzie Burgess of a Leaf beetle, Bromius obscurus, which is a red data species and has only been recorded in Scotland at the Jupiter site. Chris Packham also had a keen eye and identified an example of the orchid species Broadleaved helleborine. On the bird front someone spotted Bullfinch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula, which is on the amber list of species for conservation and has had a 36% decline in numbers in the past 50 years. All the Bioblitz records will be uploaded to the National Biodiversity Network ( so everything that was identified on the day can contribute to this important data set.“

The TCV team were delighted to take part in the event. Amanda Malcolm, Senior Project Officer, said: “The Bioblitz was incredible! It was well attended, and it was great to work alongside so many children and likeminded people recording as much wildlife as possible! We recorded a variety of species from azure damselflies, green veined white butterflies, sticklebacks to massive freshwater snails. This just shows the diversity of wildlife in a thriving urban setting! Thanks to everyone who helped us.”

“The Bioblitz: amazing event at a fab site!” - K. Crawford, Glasgow

“Chris is a hero of mine. It was great to meet him and see him join in the pond dipping with us all.” Maisie, 9 years old


Community network member

Happy Birthday Friends of Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park

– reflecting on ten years of success  

By Donald Anderson, FBBVP Chair Donald Anderson/fbbvp


en years ago, a small group of enthusiastic people came together to help look after a park in one of Scotland’s most deprived areas. Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park runs for two miles across the south of Edinburgh and had already been substantially overhauled. Over £1million had been invested in the park – mostly by Edinburgh Council and the then Social Inclusion Partnership to help regenerate the area and make the park a much more attractive area for local residents. More than 20,000 trees had also been planted. Thanks to the presence of otters the park had also been designated as a Local Nature Reserve. The park also had the first and only skatepark in the south of the city and a long track record of community activity in the Burdiehouse section of the park. Local residents set up the Better Burdiehouse Burn Initiative (BBB) carrying out lots of work to make the park a better place for all. The new group faced a much more ambitious challenge. For the first time a community group would work to improve


the whole park from Burdiehouse Road in the west – near Straiton, through to Gilmerton Road to the east. It was indeed an ambitious task. The numbers of community activists can generally be measured by how affluent an area is. The more affluent, the more local people get involved in community activities like volunteering. Also, the more affluent an area is the lower the levels of anti-social behaviour and vandalism. The Burdiehouse group was and still is one of the smallest supporting an Edinburgh park, but it is also one of the most enthusiastic. In a city that proves the model of the broken windows theory*, Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park has had some very deepseated problems. Burnt out cars had been a regular feature in the park, abandoned shopping trollies abounded and damage from fires and glass from binge drinking were commonplace. So, how are things ten years on? Frankly, they are wonderful by comparison to

the earlier days of the park. In common with many areas crime and vandalism are substantially down. Young people (as elsewhere) whilst not always angels are far better behaved and the park is fulfilling its role as a little haven of countryside in the midst of the city. The otters are still there – heard fighting recently in Ellen’s Glen and raiding a garden in nearby Mortonhall. Kingfishers are also present with that spectacular flash of blue a fleeting encounter for a lucky few local residents and visitors to the park. No less than four species of bats have been recorded in the park and the Friends Bioblitz – counting the species, has now recorded well over 400 species of plants and animals the length and breadth of the park. Visit Burdiehouse and you have a good chance of seeing buzzards languidly flying over the park looking for prey or being chased off by angry crows defending their territory. Visit the wildflower meadow and you will see a bounteous display of orchids and lots of moths and butterflies including the recently spotted small skipper.


Community network member Donald Anderson/fbbvp

Donald Anderson/fbbvp

A Burdiehouse burnet moth Everywhere you will be able to see the work and influence of the Friends. Paths have been widened and cleared, the burn banking has been protected naturally using the traditional technique of willow weaving, and the park is much cleaner. What used to be seen as a local ‘dog toilet’ has ‘remarkably little dog mess for a park of its size’, according to the council’s latest park assessment, and the park retains its hard-won Green Flag, one of an array in Edinburgh. And the Friends have ‘Friends’ too. Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT) has been active in organising wildlife walks and woodland activities for locals of all ages and is helping improve the parks infrastructure through upgrading pathways and signage. The Mushroom Trust is helping the Friends buy an old park Bothy to turn it into an activity centre that will be both a community hub and a window on one of Edinburgh’s finest green spaces. The One City Trust has just awarded £10,000 to help with the upgrade of what will be the city’s first Community Asset Transfer. ELGT has supported the group to win funding for a feasibility study on creating a pathway running from the Pentlands to the Forth, near Portobello, in a plan that will mirror the Water of Leith Walkway and something that was first mooted during the Second World War – before the park was even considered. Corporate sponsors regularly help enhance the park by supporting the work of an extraordinarily strong longterm partnership between the council and volunteers. So, as the Friends group faces the big 10, the future for the group and the park looks astonishingly bright. This year saw it’s biggest ever Spring Cleans, all three of them – it’s a big park! With a new base at the Friends Bothy this small, brave band of volunteers should continue to thrive. So, a very Happy Birthday to the Friends of Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park Nature Reserve, to give them their Sunday name.

Summer 2018

fbbvp volunteers in action.

The otters are still there – heard fighting recently in Ellen’s Glen and raiding a garden in nearby Mortonhall. Kingfishers are also present with that spectacular flash of blue a fleeting encounter for a lucky few local residents and visitors to the park.

Feel free to join in. Getting involved with the Friends is really easy. Our volunteers range from 4-94 years old, and we have youngsters, retirees, young workers and executives all involved in helping. You can sign up to our regular newsletter – issue 46 is out now, and you can have some great fun with lovely people in a wonderful treasure of a place. Or, you can just visit and enjoy walking or cycling in what is arguably one of the very best linear parks in Scotland. Aren’t parks wonderful – this one certainly is! It’s free, and as the saying goes, ‘we never close’. So, go on and visit Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park. Find out more at: Facebook: /BurdiehouseBurnValleyPark Twitter: @FBBVP

*Editors note The broken windows theory was introduced in a 1982 article in The Atlantic Monthly by American social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling. In simple terms the theory is that if a minor problem in a community such as broken windows isn’t addressed quickly, it can encourage the problem to escalate into further anti-social behaviour and even serious crime. It’s fair to say that the theory has provoked a lot of debate.


Pond life

– build it and they will come! One of the most useful additions to any garden space or conservation area is a pond, which will soon be full of resident wildlife such as frogs, toads and newts, plus dragonflies, water boatmen and other freshwater insects. Build it and they will come! And a pond can provide a welcome watering hole for birds and mammals, including hedgehogs and foxes.

Buy or DIY? Pre-formed plastic and fibre glass ponds are available from garden centres and online, but they often have high sides, which is OK for fish but does limit their appeal to wider wildlife. Alternatively, you can build your own – even a small pond can be great for a wide variety of species. Wildlife ponds usually have curved shapes with shelved edges and a sloping end to allow wildlife Creating a new pond usually involves a lot of digging!

to get in and out. They are commonly lined with waterproof plastic or rubber material, which will mould to the shape of your pond. Another option is concrete which can be very robust but tricky to construct and prone to leaks which can be difficult to repair. A natural alternative is puddled clay, of which there are several types, although this can be an expensive and time consuming option. So, you pays your money and you takes your choice.…

Where and how? A pond should be placed in an open, sunny spot. A little shade is fine but avoid placing a pond directly under a tree as it can clog up with leaves. Mark out the outline of your pond and then dig it out to the correct shape and depth – at least 60cm at its deepest which will protect species such as frogs from extremes of temperature. If you’re using a pond liner, adding a layer of sand or an old carpet will help avoid punctures to the liner from sharp stones underneath. Excess liner can be trimmed, before tucking into a small trench dug around the edge of the pond, and then covered over with the turf cut from the trench. A new pond can be filled with tap water although this should be left for a while for the chlorine in the water to dissipate. There are also treatments available from pet and fish shops to neutralize chlorine and chloramines in pond water.

Water plants Native plants are best to encourage wildlife, examples being Marsh marigold, Bogbean, Purple loosestrife, Water mint and Yellow flag iris. Plants will colonise naturally



although this may take some time. If you want quick results, cuttings can be taken from plants in nearby ponds, and plants can be purchased from specialist suppliers (see below). Avoid adding exotic plants, some of which are invasive and can soon choke a pond.

Introducing wildlife Insects, frogs and other pond life will naturally colonise a pond surprisingly quickly, so there’s no need to add buckets of mud or water from other ponds. And avoid adding fish as these can become dominant and limit the variety of other species.

Safety first For obvious safety reasons a pond may not be suitable within a space used by small children. Alternatively, consider using a rigid safety net or grille which can be placed over the pond.

Bath time If space is tight an old bath or sink can provide a mini pond and a welcome spot for amphibians to cool off in the summer. Even a small water bath will suffice for drinking and bathing for many species. Bird baths are available from the RSPB and garden centres, but equally useable (and cheaper) are deep dishes and similar items. Whatever option you choose make sure there are stones or other objects at the edges to allow the wildlife to get in and out. And note that birds are most vulnerable to predators when bathing, so place your bird bath well away from trees or other cover.

Even a small pond can be a great wildlife resource.

Yellow flag iris.

Further information and resources

on digging, maintaining, enhancing and enjoying your pond. This, and a wealth of other pond information, is available at:

• The Freshwater Habitats Trust provides plenty of information on pond creation and management:

Identify and record Well established ponds can teem with life. There are plenty of resources available to help you identify and record the fascinating creatures inhabiting your local pond. One such resource is the Water Survey from OPAL (Open Air Laboratories), a Citizen Science project supported by TCV.

• Plantlife provides advice on suitable pond plants: • Suppliers of pond plants are listed by Flora locale: • Waterways & Wetlands is a comprehensive online TCV handbook on creating and maintaining our freshwater habitats, including ponds: www. (discounts for Community Network members)

The Water Survey:

Join a campaign Just Add Water is the Froglife campaign to encourage the public to dig wildlife ponds, especially in urban environments. The Just Add Water booklet includes advice Rosie gordon

• By taking part in the Water Survey, you’ll help scientists learn more about how polluted our lakes and ponds are – something we know surprisingly little about. • Good water quality is essential for the many animals and plants that live in and around our lakes, ponds and rivers. • Unfortunately, water is easily affected by pollution from agriculture and industry, waste we throw away, and even pollutants in the air. • Animals living in the water can tell us a great deal about how polluted the water may be. Some species struggle to survive in polluted waters, while others are more tolerant. • By telling us what you find in your local pond you’ll discover more about the water’s health and contribute to valuable scientific research. Once you’ve completed the survey, simply submit your results online – and you’ve become a Citizen Scientist!

When planning a new pond, large or small, remember it may need some maintenance from time to time.

Summer 2018

The Water Survey booklet and identification guides can be downloaded at:


Creating Shãh-raku-en TCV volunteers were fortunate recently to contribute to a fascinating garden restoration project being undertaken near Dollar in Clackmannanshire. The Stirling Midweek Volunteers helped build a stretch of path in the beautiful Japanese Garden at Cowden Estate. So, what’s the background and aims of this unique project? The following information is adapted from the Garden’s website: At the turn of the 20th century, the Scottish adventurer Ella Christie returned home from a trip to the Orient inspired to build a Japanese garden. As might be expected from the first Western woman to meet the Dalai Lama, Christie’s approach to developing the garden was trailblazing. She chose a female designer, the gifted Taki Handa, to create the seven acre site in the grounds of Cowden Castle, thirty miles north-west of Edinburgh. In so doing, The Japanese Garden at Cowden became the first and only garden of its size and scale to be designed by a woman. It remains a unique and utterly authentic bridge between Scottish and Japanese culture. Sadly vandalised in the 1960s, the garden is now being brought back to life by a team of experts led by the renowned Japanese architect and garden designer Professor Masao Fukuhara from Osaka University of Arts. In overall charge of this ambitious scheme is a dedicated group of trustees and small team of staff belonging to The


Japanese Garden at Cowden Castle charity, which was established in 2014 The extensive site includes a large pond surrounded by woodland and other planting – wherever possible of shrubs and trees selected to typify the ideal Japanese garden. Stepping stones, meandering paths and the seating, bridges and summerhouses are equally true to Japanese custom to create ‘Shãh-raku-en’ – a place of pleasure and delight. TCV’s input was led by Senior Project Officer Rosie Walker, who explains: “Through the sunshine, rain and snow of spring, our Stirling volunteers worked tirelessly to finish the path project. The total length constructed was almost 80 metres as the path made its way through beautiful old conifer trees next to a burn that flows from more formal features of the garden. Many of the volunteers said it was a real highlight of their volunteering experience

to have worked on such an interesting and intriguing site. We were also joined by the EPIC volunteer team ( as a training session for future path work they will be undertaking in Clackmannanshire.” Kate White, Head Gardener, was grateful for the volunteers’ efforts: “The creation of the woodland path has made a huge physical difference to the ability of visitors to move around the garden. It has opened up a previously unvisited section of the woodland and allowed us to create new planting areas to extend the season of interest in the garden. Many people reading this will have done some path work, and know that shovelling and barrowing ‘type 1’ is hard and heavy work. The TCV volunteers worked in some appalling weather yet managed to make good progress, and most importantly retain their sense of humour throughout the project. Thank you TCV Stirling!”


The TCV path builders rosie walker

Stuart Munro Kate White

The finished path

“It was good up there doing the path. I liked getting out in the fresh air.” – Davie “I enjoyed it. I thought it was invigorating to get something like that done and see the finished touches to it. It was hard work but I would love to do something like that again.” – Tony “I thought it was really good and I enjoyed doing the type 1 on the pathway as well as the edging. It kept me busy all day! I enjoyed working at such a different site – I had never been to a Japanese garden before.” – Jason Summer 2018

To transform their plans into reality, the charity’s trustees have sought financial support from a variety of sources. This included The Mushroom Trust, who kindly helped fund the creation of the woodland path by TCV’s volunteers, and enabled additional plants to be purchased to line the new access through the woodland. Other funds raised will be used exclusively to complete the transformation of Ella Christie and Taki Handa’s remarkable legacy into a garden to serve a range of educational needs. Although the restoration isn’t complete, the trustees took the decision to welcome visitors in 2018. However, they stress that whilst the Garden is already a beautiful location with an extended woodland walk, the restoration is ongoing. The trustees and staff hope visitors will appreciate being part of the experience of the re-emergence of a unique and internationally important garden.

Garden volunteers TCV’s Stirling group are not the only volunteers to help out in the Garden, as outlined by Head Gardener Kate, who says: “We have had a fair bit of volunteer involvement already. On our first day of opening for Scotland’s Gardens Scheme in over fifty years, we had over 150 hours of volunteering from groups including Dollar Academy, Opening More Doors and St James the Great Church, Dollar. We have ongoing regular volunteers in the garden in a range of roles from visitor welcome, to practical gardening and providing garden tours. We are still actively recruiting for volunteers and I’d be happy to speak to anyone interested in finding out more. Please contact me at”

Summer Festival 1&2 September Two days of Japanese inspired events which include flower arranging, sumi painting, kimono arrangement and martial arts.

The Japanese Garden is open from Wednesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm, until 28 October. General information about the garden and its events, entry prices, directions etc, is available at:


Community network member jane sloan

Aldouran Wetland Garden It’s been a few years since Aldouran Wetland Garden was last featured in these pages. The Garden is situated on the outskirts of the village of Leswalt, three miles north-west of Stranraer. The site of around five hectares consists of a community garden with raised flower beds linked by all-ability paths to a wetland area with a boardwalk leading to a bird hide on the edge of Aldouran Glen (owned by Woodland Trust Scotland). The area, previously a patch of marshy farmland, has been developed by the local community into a valuable environmental, educational and recreational resource managed by volunteers of all ages. Here, Jane Sloan*, group Chair outlines recent developments at the Garden: Since we introduced our Sculpture Trail two years ago, including a 7ft tall chainsaw carving of the Gruffalo, our visitor numbers have tripled! We entice families into the project to find the Gruffalo, fairy houses etc, whilst at the same time they can appreciate the red squirrels and other woodland and wetland wildlife. We’ve installed a composting toilet (thanks to a grant from Tesco’s Bags of Help) and a storage cabin (Awards for All). And we’ve just been awarded funding from the Kilgallioch Community Fund to enable us to build a shelter/outdoor

and unicorns. Three year old Mia Anderson won the prize for overall best costume.

classroom. This will be a super shelter for our volunteers in the event of a shower and will be invaluable when we have visits from schools and other groups.

The children were led on a trail through the ‘Enchanted Forest’ where, after opening a specially made woodland curtain, they encountered all sorts of mythical creatures in locations such as ‘Dewdrop Glen’, ‘Fairy Lane’ and ‘Elf Lagoon’. The woodland sparkled as much with enthusiasm and imagination as with glitter! The children made magic wands and collected potions to stir into a huge magic pot and all agreed they had had a wonderful afternoon.

As well as twice monthly Saturday morning tidy-ups, our volunteers take turns at being wardens throughout the busy April to September season. We have 35 adult volunteers and 20 young Aldouran Wetland Watchers. We run an annual Easter Monday Fun Day when we have various wildlife and craft activities, plus an all-day cafe in the village hall to raise funds.

Another event is being held for the older children including a beastie hunt and looking at owl pellets.

We also run a couple of activity days in the summer holidays. To celebrate the publishing of Aldouran volunteer Cherry Dashper’s first children’s story book, we recently held a ‘Fantasy and Fairies’ day when Cherry, dressed in medieval costume (pictured below) and seated in an appropriately dressed gazebo, read her story, ‘An Important Lesson in Dragons’, to the many young children who came to experience an afternoon of fantasy and magic. The children were invited to come in fancy dress resulting in the appearance of some super fairies, elves, goblins, dragons

We’ve also taken part in the Glow Gold September campaign this past year to highlight children’s cancers. This involved planting a new garden (top right) with flowers which bloom in gold colours, especially in September.

stranraer free press

The drought this summer has seen our pond at record low levels. It attracts mallard ducks, moorhens, coots and greylag geese, plus otters which come and go, as well as palmate newts, frogs, toads and lots of pond invertebrates. The pond requires fairly regular clearing and last season we were lucky to have men from the local rugby club helping with the operation. So, there’s plenty happening in the garden, and new volunteers and visitors alike are always welcome! For further information: Email: Website: Facebook: /aldouranwetlandgarden *In July, Jane received an MBE for services to the community in Leswalt, which mainly recognised the work done at Aldouran.



A Passion for pollinators By David Meechan, Greenspace for Health Senior Project Officer, Ayr david meechan

At the end of April we held an event called ‘A Passion for Pollinators’ in partnership with the Scottish Wildlife Trust, as part of their Nectar Network project. The Irvine to Girvan Nectar Network project works to establish connected nectar and pollenrich sites along the Ayrshire coast that will ensure the long-term survival of pollinating insects. Our event for Trust volunteers, families and members of the public was held on the largest meadow within the grounds of the University Hospital Ayr and Ailsa (UHA&A). The origins of the Nector Network project are a response to pollinators being in serious decline across the UK. Around 84% of European crops depend on insects and they are responsible for 35% of world food production. With over 95% of the UK’s wildflower meadows being lost in just the last 40 years or so, places where pollinating insects can thrive are now very restricted. Nectar gives insects energy to travel across the landscape, so a lack of refuelling sites prevents this. Not only can they not reach the crops, but they are isolated from others of their kind. An isolated insect population is a vulnerable one because, if it dies out for whatever reason, the site cannot be recolonised from nearby. We therefore decided we would take some action and help these wee super-duper workers. We built a giant bug hotel that will house many pollinators eg solitary bees and other critters. We also planted wildflowers and made some bug hotels for folk to take away for their own gardens and homes.

Summer 2018

Balloch Nature Jam “Thanks, I really enjoyed going outdoors and taking part in helping nature at its best”

Enthusiastic balsam pullers.

Thanks to everyone who joined in. I would also like to recognise the input of the NHS Estates team at UHA&A, as they helped collect and move materials that were essential to the project. Without them this would simply not have worked, so I would like to say a huge thank you to them.

TCV’s annual UK-wide celebration of community conservation is being held between Friday 21 – Monday 24 September. In Scotland, events will be run in Bo’ness, Glasgow and Inverness. Details on how to join in will be available soon on the TCV website.

At the beginning of August a large group of enthusiastic youngsters descended on Balloch Castle Country Park within the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. As part of the Year of Young People 2018, the Nature Jam was an enjoyable mix of conservation and environmental art activities. The youngsters worked tirelessly to build a stretch of new path and to clear an area of the invasive Himalayan balsam plant. Some also went on a nature walk in the woods whilst others got creative with Hapa Zome – the Japanese word meaning ‘leaf dye’ and the process of transferring (bashing!) the natural pigments from leaves and flowers onto fabric or paper. The youngsters, aged 8-16, belonged to the local Tullochan group and Haldane Youth Services – The Hop, Skip & Jump Project, as well as the Youth Committee who are helping shape the National Park’s approach to engaging with young people. The Nature Jam was organised by staff from the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, TCV, West Dunbartonshire Ranger Service and the John Muir Trust. TCV is grateful for the support received for our input from Scottish Natural Heritage, The Scottish Government and Standard Life Aberdeen.


Scotland Counts Keep in touch with Citizen Science

We lead exciting sessions to show that through simple surveys and by recording wildlife, the public can make a difference in the world of science. From mini-beast hunting, earthworm watching and tree measuring to bird spotting, flood management

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.

Follow us online8

and more, we want everyone to have the skills and confidence to access the outdoors and take note of the natural world around them. Our new TCV Citizen Science twitter feed is dedicated to highlighting the latest from the world of Citizen Science, showcasing new events and projects to take part in, as well as showing the reach of our work and to connect with potential participants and other organisations.

Scotland Counts is supported by the Scottish Government, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, and Forestry Commission Scotland. TCV Scotland Head Office 24 Allan Park Stirling FK8 2QG T 01786 479697  E

So, please give us a follow and say hello @TCVCitSci Scotland Counts is run by Amanda Malcolm and Kirsty Grant, who took part in the Jupiter Bioblitz featured on page 3.

Unit 7C Henderson Road Longman Industrial Estate Inverness IV1 1SN T 01463 811 967 E

On the move Earlier in the year TCV’s Edinburgh volunteers installed wooden planting beds for the Cowgate Under 5s Nursery, just off the Royal Mile. The Nursery is located beside the Festival Fringe box office which is incredibly busy during the summer. So, to avoid any harm to the plants, the volunteers simply lifted the beds and carried them to a temporary home around the corner. The process will be reversed when the Fringe is over.

Unit M1 143 Charles Street Glasgow G21 2QA T 0141 552 5294  E

Sarah Burton conservationvolunteers #JoinInFeelGood

St Joseph’s Academy Grassyards Road Kilmarnock KA3 7SL T 01563 544304 E 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.

The Granary 44 Mortonhall Gate Edinburgh EH16 6TJ T 0131 664 6170  E

Editor Graham Burns  E  ©The Conservation Volunteers 2018. Charity registered in Scotland SC039302, and England 261009. Green Gym is a Registered Trade Mark.

Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre Wood Street Grangemouth FK3 8LH T 01324 471600  E

Finding funding TCV Scotland produces a Funding Update three times annually which lists potential funding sources for environmental and community projects. The Summer Update is available at:

TCV UK Head Office Sedum House Mallard Way Doncaster DN4 8DB T 01302 388883  E


TCV’s Scotland Counts project works with various schools, community groups, volunteers, BME youth groups and teachers to deliver free Citizen Science sessions for all.

TCV Scotland’s community, health and environmental volunteering activities are supported by: 12


TCV Scotland Network Bulletin Summer 2018  
TCV Scotland Network Bulletin Summer 2018