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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.

Welcome to The Conservation Volunteers blogs. Where we share what we do.

Into the woods and, hopefully, back out again!

Into the woods and, hopefully, back out again!

Hello, I’m Carolyn McFarlane and I’m one of two Natural Networks trainees (the other being Jenny Holmes) placed with East Ayrshire Outdoor Education. As this is my first blog since joining Natural Networks in January it could become a very long and tedious ramble about all that has gone on in the last 7 months! In an attempt to make this slightly less long and tedious, I’ll pick out some of the highlights of the traineeship. Here goes …. Why become a Natural Networks trainee I’ve always been someone who likes to be outdoors and has an interest in all things environmental. I trained … Continue reading

Time Flies!

Time Flies!

As always this month has been hectic. Despite being away on holiday for two weeks, I have managed to pack in a lot in my work time this month!

A Focus on Nature Insect Workshop

I sit on the committee for A Focus on Nature a group that brings together people between the ages of 16 and 30 in Britain that have an interest in wildlife. I was asked to lead some workshops for other young naturalists at an insect weekend, based at the Old Sulehay Nature Reserve in Northamptonshire. My first workshop was on dead wood invertebrates, … Continue reading

Join in this years Great British Beach Clean!

Join in this years Great British Beach Clean!

Every year, The Marine Conservation Society runs the UK’s biggest beach clean and Citizen Science survey – The Great British Beach Clean!

There is an unacceptable amount of litter and waste in our oceans which is having a devastating effect on our wildlife. Many animals such as whales, turtles, sharks, seals, birds, and dolphins, are accidentally eating or becoming entangled in rubbish which all too often leads to their death.

Plastic never truly biodegrades, its takes thousands of years to break down and even then it doesn’t really every disappear; it just becomes little pieces … Continue reading

Wildlife signs to look out for this month!

Wildlife signs to look out for this month!

 

Hello! Check out these tracks and signs to find out what sort of wildlife is living near you! Even seeing a sign of an animal is a wildlife record that can be recorded.

Into the woods

Into the woods

Hello there

Thanks once again for coming to read my blog. Apologies in advice as it’s going to be even longer this time, but worth it to read about A Birkenhead girl’s misadventures in Kilmarnock, no?

New Scottish wonders I have discovered since I last wrote: Tattie scones (so good!), the word stookie and greetin’ and my new midge friends 😉

  Our traineeship allows us the opportunity to pursue all sorts of relevant training of our own choosing. For me this has included a day of seed growing and muddy hands at an RHS edible school garden course, a day of tree … Continue reading

Dogwood Demolition at Danskine Loch

Dogwood Demolition at Danskine Loch

As July came to an end we said a fond farewell to Danskine Loch, a site that the Edinburgh Midweek Group volunteers have been at almost every week since February in conjunction with Scottish Natural Heritage.

It’s a beautiful secluded Site of Special Scientific Interest near Gifford and was designated as an SSSI due to its large fen woodland and open freshwater – habitats which are rare in East Lothian. Unfortunately invasive dogwood had grown at the edge of the loch and had developed into dense thickets which smothered the native plant life, altered the wildlife habitats and reduced … Continue reading

Vegetables anyone?

Vegetables anyone?

July has been a great month, although I think I have eaten my body weight in courgettes, beans, squash and lettuce all grown at the Tree Life Centre by our Grow Wild Volunteers.  All of their hard work has really paid off and we now have an abundance of delicious organic fresh vegetables to take home.  In fact we have so much that our volunteers helped us run a little market stall at the Tree Life Centre allowing the public to take home some of our produce in return for donations.  Unfortunately the day we chose was a bit gloomy … Continue reading

I am now a wildlife tracking ninja..

I am now a wildlife tracking ninja..

July was truly epic! The month kicked off with a two-day LANTRA Brushcutters and Trimmers course, which has given me a qualification that I can use to manage habitats like meadows. I must admit I was a bit scared at first. I’ve never used a brushcutter or trimmer of any sort before and I was nervous about wielding a machine, with a spinning blade on the end, which was bigger than me. But I soon relaxed (although I was super paranoid about decapitating hedgehogs) and I really felt I had achieved something at the end.

I then got to go … Continue reading

What’s it Called?

What's it Called?

Cumbernauld!

If you spent any time in Central Scotland in the 80s you can’t fail to have heard that slogan.  It’s held in great affection here in Cumbernauld and even today if you repeat it to any local you’ll be greeted by a friendly two fingered wave.

 

But like it or not, it’s probably the good side of the town’s public relations.  The kids in the advert might be acting cheery only under extreme duress (I’m assuming someone is holding a puppy hostage just off screen) but at least they’re smiling, at least it’s a positive image.

Cumbernauld … Continue reading

A flower themed June

A flower themed June

Hello! Jess here, reporting on my June activities with TCV. Apologies for the lateness!

I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Kindrogan, the Field Studies Councils centre in Perthshire near Pitlochry, to participate in a weeklong course entitled ‘Discovering and Identifying Wildflowers’.

I decided to go on this course as I often lead general nature walks with volunteers and community groups, and have found on these walks that my knowledge of flora really wasn’t up to scratch. The Wildflower Society gave me a generous bursary so that I could attend this course.

So I set … Continue reading