In over five decades of inspiring people and improving places, The Conservation Volunteers has consistently supported people working locally to improve their environment and their life chances, and created resilience in the most vulnerable communities.
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One of the best parts of the natural networks traineeship has been meeting so many open, funny and warm people in the older communities of West Lothian (even if they were a little – understandably – hesitant at first with my obsession with all things nature).
Here’s some of the green health in later life highlights:
Care homes – Bringing the outdoors indoors
You don’t have to go deep into the wilderness to bring about good memories and pride in your natural environment. In care homes, with residents living with dementia, we brought the outdoors indoors making bird feeders … Continue reading →
TCV Stirling’s Wednesday group were at Muiravonside Country park to join in with the removal of Rhododendron ponticum and the invasive sycamore. Rhododendron are prolific seed producers and they will crowd out native flora if left unchecked. Sycamore trees are good for the landscape but as they too produce hundreds of seed that set very easily, they can become dominant and their large leaves block the sun stopping other plants thriving.
So, while removing these two plants there was time to examine what else grows in the woods and we found a variety of fungi!
As we rolled into September you could feel autumn starting to creep in. For me this is an exciting time! It means fungi will start fruiting, with mushrooms appearing on the forest floor. Why is this so exciting for a mollusc enthusiast? Well, one of the species that has most intrigued me is the elusive Lemon Slug (Malacolimax tenellus).
This mysterious animal only appears in the autumn and winter months, surfacing to feed on fungal fruiting … Continue reading →
So September has been awash with training courses, events, meetings, visits, HLF bid writing and of course the odd downpour but that won’t dampen a Natural Network’s trainee’s spirits.
The month began with 2 training courses run by TCV. The first was Exploring Nature with People with Disabilities which looked at innovative ways to allow people of all backgrounds to engage with nature and the second course was on Safeguard training.
Towards the end of the month I was also afforded the opportunity to assist TCV with a nature play session at Rouken Glen Park for children with autism.
Since my last blog post I have spent the majority of my time really trying to get to grips with the identification of the groups of beetles that I am specialising in. For my work at Woodwalton Fen this means learning how to identify ground beetles (Family: Carabidae) and rove beetles (Staphylinidae), this includes a lot of microscope work as you have to look at intricate features on the beetles in order to identify them, such as hairs on their legs, micro-sculpture on their wing cases etc. In the case of many of the rove beetles, you also have to dissect … Continue reading →
Back again with more mollusc related goodness. It’s been a busy month, with lots of travelling and some exciting finds!
The legendary Mary Gillham
At the beginning of the month I headed off to the local records centre, SEWBReC as part of my exchange with their LEMUR+ trainee. Here I spent most of my time working on the Mary Gillham project. Dr Mary Gillham was a pioneering female naturalist, who spent most of her life educating people about nature and campaigning for nature conservation. After her death in 2013 she left a huge archive of materials to … Continue reading →
Thanks for coming back to my blog! It was a rather exciting coastal themed August for me.
What is wonderful about working for TCV, is that every now and then, you receive an email containing an absurd proposal. Some of the most exciting have included: ‘Would you mind paddling a canoe out into a lagoon towing a raft for rare birds to nest on?’, ‘Would you like to help build a dry stone wall in the deepest darkest remotest highlands of Scotland?’, and the most recent ‘Some Puffins need help on an Island off North Berwick, fancy it?’.
Got started May off with a bang by doing something really exciting (and maybe a little scary) – getting interviewed by a film crew! This was orchestrated by Norton Priory Museum (located in Runcorn, Cheshire), which also happens to have lovely grounds and a beautifully maintained walled garden. They wanted to have a series of interviews with specialists in their field about all the different kinds of wildlife that you can find at the Norton Priory gardens. They were really keen to have someone talk about pollinators and the range of species which can be found in the gardens – so that’s where … Continue reading →
With the temperatures finally dropping and the getting shorter despite all my pleas, it is time for me to look back at the last few months of my traineeship. Things have been interesting as ever, and I have been traveling quite a bit around the country, above and beyond my beloved Central Scotland.
Summer 2k16: the beginning
At the end of June I had the opportunity to attend the Central Scotland Green Network Trust (where I am based) annual forum at the Glasgow School of Art in Garnethill (where I live). It was great to walk a few minutes up … Continue reading →
As part of this traineeship I have travelled far and wide to many green spaces in Scotlands central belt. These places are weird and wonderful while often taken for granted. In the course of writing this blog I have retraced my steps and thought of my experiences within these spaces and how enriching they have been for me. I heartily recommend getting out and going to your local park, or going to one in the town over from yours. A lot of these places due to external factors are being earmarked for development. So go surveying, volunteering or even just … Continue reading →