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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.

New experience November: sharing and learning

New experience November: sharing and learning

Hello again!

Wow, November went fast! For me this month has all been about continuing to learn and starting to share information about my project.

Now that the frosts have arrived, it’s been a much quieter time mollusc wise. The larger more noticeable species such as the Garden Snail (Cornu aspersum) have started aestivating – going dormant for the cold winter months. This is done by retracting into their shells and forming a temporary cover over the shell opening. The cover is made of mucus which dries, forming a hard epiphragm and leaving a small hole for air. Winter is … Continue reading

A Spooky Slug Filled October

A Spooky Slug Filled October

Hello again!

Incredibly rare slug behaviour

At the end of last month the knowledgeable Mark Telfer popped into Wales for a visit. He was keen to see a site for the species Testacella maugei (Atlantic Shelled Slug or Dead Man’s Finger) – which happens to be St Fagans National History Museum, part of the National Museum Wales group. Ben casually offered me the option to come along, and I jumped at the chance. A day in the field with three fellow slug enthusiasts? No chance I was turning that down! And it was definitely worth it.

Upon arriving on … Continue reading

Gowan Hill Bioblitz

Today we went up Gowan Hill beside Stirling Castle and did a bioblitz. We took a note of all the plant and wildlife species that we could see. There were five species of tree: willow, birch, hawthorn, elder and poplar. Attached to the trees were some interesting species of lichen. We found hypogymnia lichen and evernia lichen which indicate a nitrogen-sensitive environment. There was also flavoparmelia lichen which is an intermediate lichen and can be found in clean and polluted conditions. In addition, today we also found gorse, brambles, green algae and ferns. We saw a magpie and a … Continue reading

Finito!

Finito!

Hi everyone,

I have spend an inordinate amount of time at this microscope this last month identifying specimens from Blenheim Palace and Woodwalton Fen. The good news is that I have identified everything now, except the specimens I sent off to experts for identification. These trickier ones that I couldn’t manage to identify include some red and black click beetles in the genus Ampedus. All of which are uncommon / rare deadwood associated species but all look the same. I have sent off a sample of each one to be DNA tested which is rather exciting.

I have … Continue reading

Mind Walk

Mind Walk

The days are closing in. The weather is getting colder. Shop managers are itching to get those Christmas decorations up. Invertebrates? They are not gone just yet but I have started to see a reduction in numbers as many die off or go for a wee snooze over the winter (lucky guys!). So over the past couple of months I have tried to expand my own horizons by attending training courses and taking in part in other TCV events not directly related to my speciality (you hear that?! I have a speciality! Me!). It also allowed me to develop a … Continue reading

Wonderful Worms with Uplawmoor Primary School

Wonderful Worms with Uplawmoor Primary School

As part of TCV’s Scotland Counts Project we visited Uplawmoor Primary School in Glasgow to play with worms! We had a fantastic Citizen Science filled day looking at the soil and earthworms in the school grounds and learning about the vital role soil has.

For example, DID YOU KNOW…..

One quarter of the world’s biodiversity is found in the soil, which in turn supports most of the food chains on our planet Soil filters our water to keep it clean Healthy soil also soaks up pollution making our air cleaner Soil soaks up water, helping to prevent flooding … Continue reading

Lego! Oh and some productive work type things too.

Lego!  Oh and some productive work type things too.

I’ve been threatening to sit down and write a blog for the past month I think, it pops up in my diary as a “to do” every  Monday morning – and every Monday morning I think to myself, I must get that started this afternoon…

It’s been really busy here in Cumbernauld the past couple of months, and as far as I’m concerned busy is brilliant!

I’m pleased to say that I’m continuing my efforts to get outside as much as possible – aided and abetted by the rest of the trainees wherever possible.

I helped out Emma and David … Continue reading

TCV come to the Garden Rescue

TCV come to the Garden Rescue

When the residents of a local housing association looked out of their back windows, there wasn’t much to see apart from two rotary dryers and a forest of overgrown shrubs. There was nowhere to sit and very little space to stroll round especially if the grass was wet. Knowing the benefits of having an outdoor space to general health and wellbeing, a plan was required to revive this wilderness. With help from Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGN) , especially Emilie Wadsworth their Biodiversity Officer, a new garden was designed then it was up to TCV volunteers to … Continue reading

Thursday the 13th – Lucky for some?

Thursday the 13th - Lucky for some?

So despite having some time off to enjoy Scotland’s Autumnal displays, October has been host to some pivotal events.

Thursday the 13th in fact, was host to both the HLF bid deadline and our Natural Networks and Natural Talent Skills Share event.

I have continued to contribute to TCV’s Natural Health bid which, if successful, will support traineeships in future years. For the most part, I have been involved in collating research on the historic uses of green space towards health and well being and more recent policies and initiatives that drive the benefits of green prescribing for the environment … Continue reading

Autumn Adventures in Edinburgh

Autumn Adventures in Edinburgh

It’s been a busy and exciting couple of months for our mid week volunteer group here in Edinburgh with a huge variety of conservation work taking place all around Edinburgh, the Lothian’s and Fife.

At the beginning of September we visited Davidson’s Mains Park in Edinburgh to help them tackle everyone’s ‘favourite’ invasive species: Himalayan Balsam. With the help of volunteers from Friend’s of Davidson’s Mains we cleared countless bin bags full (and even had to go on an emergency bin bag run as everyone was working so hard!).

Next on our big ‘to do’ list for … Continue reading