Kippenrait Glen

Today the TCV Stirling Midweek Group went out to Kippenrait Glen to finish up some native and non-native invasive species removal. We removed some of the rhododendrons that have regrown from previous visits to prevent them spreading over the area. These non-native invasive species grow extremely quickly through ground roots and from small cutting which can easily establish in the soil and often prevent other species from establishing in the area they occupy.

We also removed beech tree’s in the area. These are native to Scotland, and the rest of the UK, but as they grow so well and their canopy is so well established they can often take over areas of woodland where a wider variety of native trees would be more beneficial for the wildlife and overall health of the forest.

The many small ash tree saplings growing in the forest are a great sign if you’ve heard about the Chalara dieback of ash trees currently in the news which is found in 26% of the UK.

We saw some lovely robins, a coal tit and an inquisitive dog who managed to sneak a bit of a volunteer’s sandwich!

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Falkirk Roughcastle

TCV Stirling midweek volunteer group went to Roughcastle park on Thursday to work on path clearing for the area. Hard, but very satisfying work! We took our time today and in a nice steady pace managed to clear a big part already, but still a lot has to be done. Next to a very enjoyable day with decent weather, we also found marble galls on a oak tree, you could still see the exit hole from the previous inhabitant. Interesting little critters! Next to the creepy crawlies we also had a visit from a few sheep and a magnificent buzzard. We ended our day with clearing up the brambles around the sign at the start of the path, making it comfortable for the visitors again.
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The galls we found

The galls we found

Before we started clearing

Before we started clearing

And after,  we did it!

And after, we did it!

Muiravonside Country Park; the follow up

Collection of plants next to the pond

Collection of plants next to the pond

An nice wee bonfire.

An nice wee bonfire.

Tackling the tree

Tackling the tree

TCV Stirling Midweek Volunteer group went to Muiravonside again last tuesday to finish off those piles of planty material that we cut down the day before. With 5 volunteers we went down to the park today. After a fight with a fallen down tree (we won, yay!) over the path and curling pond, we went up to burn down the piles of Rhododendron and Laurel. So next to finding our inner pyromancers we also were able to stay nice and warm as the day has been quite chilly. And bonus: roasting marshmallows! One of the many ways to keep our volunteers happy. We saw loads of interesting plants today next to the usual invasive species. A mixed forest where we found Ash trees, Yew, lichens like Cladonia impexa. Also a possible Arctium sp (comparable to a Thistle) spreaded all over the forest floor and some nice, possible, Inula conyzae (ploughman’s-spikenard) and a few cute opposite-Leaved Golden-Saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium), they got very interesting flowers! Interested? Visit http://www.tcv.org.uk/volunteering to find opportunities close to you!
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A New Willow Riverbank

Apocalypse scenario: A riverbank erodes. The churning water eats it away slowly as chunks of mud and debris are blasted off into oblivion. Disoriented sticklebacks plot revenge. Buzzards circle. Badgers forget to be badgerly, hogweed burns like lava and dismembered toads croak helplessly. Willows weep as the landscape chokes on its own despairrrrrr.

Or, alternatively, we could sacrifice all the feeling in our toes by clambering into some huge waders and SAVE THE DAY by rebuilding the missing jigsaw piece. So, we opted for the latter.
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Having recently indulged in a spot of willow fence weaving around a community orchard in Rouken Glen, we cranked it up a notch at Dams to Darnley Country Park, using willow to rebuild the eroded section of the riverbank. The willow will take root and join its nearby pals in stabilising the ground, in an ecologically sound manner, no less!

It felt like the first proper day of Spring and sunlight makes all the difference to a good conservation day. And then, it seems, we tested out our work by having the whole team pose standing precariously on the ground we had just built…

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Rewilding comes to Glasgow and the Clyde Valley

TCV Scotland is embarking on a new and exciting project to rewild communities and their green spaces within the Glasgow and Clyde Valley area.

Rewilding Green Spaces ~ Rewilding People ~ Rewilding Communities

Rewilding is a new and inspirational approach to conservation featuring landscape-scale restoration of ecosystems. It has potentially huge ecological and wildlife benefits and so far is mainly applied to large scale wilderness conservation such as beaver reintroduction and Scotland’s Forest.  However, we believe, that applied locally on small scale community led projects, a rewilding approach will capture the imagination of people who may normally switch off at the mention of ‘conservation activities’. Rewilding activities such as planting native trees or wildflower species will help encourage people’s understanding and connection to local wildlife, heritage and nature. This would result in more active citizenship and better social and pro-environmental behaviours alongside much needed health and wellbeing benefits. This micro scale project will bring the excitement and romance of a rewilding approach into urban areas of Glasgow and the Clyde Valley.

Three areas have been identified by the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership (GCVGNP) as places with the greatest potential to enhance public outdoor places, improve the connectivity of green spaces and engage members of the community with their green spaces and everything they have to offer. A variety of rewilding activities will be held at sites across the three areas, Upper Greenock, Clydebank and Yoker, in the next few months so keep an eye out!

The project will deliver a green gym at one of the sites and ongoing opportunities for volunteers to get involved in practical conservation tasks at other sites across the three areas.

As well as practical volunteering there will be public events, activities for schools and other community groups and ‘Rewild the Child’ sessions for children during the Easter holidays.

If you’d like to find out more about the project or get involved by volunteering on practical tasks or helping organise and run events, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact Rebecca Strofton on r.strofton@tcv.org.uk.

“Rewilding holds out hope of a richer living planet that can once more fill our lives with wonder and enchantment.” – George Monbiot