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 red kite flying in the distance.
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Here is some more wildlife to look out for this November:
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
Soil stores more carbon that trees, making it very important in preventing global warming
95% of our food needs soil
It is one of the most important resources on the planet and the least renewable
And that’s just the soil! DID YOU KNOW…..
The longest earthworm ever found was three meters long!
Earthworm burrows let oxygen into the soil and help prevent flooding
Earthworms create healthy soil, without them we couldn’t grow food
Earthworms are detritivores and eat all the leaves that fall in autumn, and turn them into soil
Earthworms are a food source for hundreds of other animals like birds and badgers
The children seemed to thoroughly enjoy being allowed to run free and play in the mud, and it was an extremely muddy day!
Each of the children did a Soil and Earthworm Survey in which they tested the soil in their field to find out its pH, texture, and soil type. They then identified the species of worms they had found.
Some children were a little reluctant to get their hands dirty, but they soon joined in when they saw how much fun everyone was having. I find it amazing to see people scared of dirt, especially when it does all those amazing things listed above for us! It’s time we stop encouraging this fear of germs and dirt and all things natural, after all, soil has been found to contain natural chemicals that are proven to increase our moods and have antidepressant qualities. What better way the help children grow healthy happy minds than to get them to study the amazing creatures in the ground.
The children’s survey results were given to OPAL, a nationwide Citizen Science initiative, so that all their hard work and research was contributed to national soil research.
Overall it was a very successful day, and it was wonderful to see children doing exactly what they should be, playing and learning in the dirt and discovering the amazing world that they live in.
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 put the plan in action. The project couldn’t have happened without funding from Greggs so a huge thank you to them.
First, clear a space!
Next, get digging!
Man on a mission…
All together now
Spaces cleared, ground prepared so time to fill them in…
New place to dry
Planting the planters
No one wants to squelch around on wet grass so we put in a path to make it easier to walk around and to work on the garden.
Digging out the path.
Walk this way!
A garden has its possessions so needs somewhere to keep its things tidy.
Getting close to the end of the restoration project and time for some finishing touches. Some plants to brighten up the drying area and a picnic bench to rest on while the appointed chef sizzles sausages on the brick built barbeque.
Finishing off at the end of the day.
This new garden is a place to revive spirits, shelter wildlife and inspire the residents to new interests and green fingers. There will soon be an orchard and in the future, the fruits of labour will be eaten! Flowers and vegetables coming here soon to these lovely raised beds that will make it easier to give the plants the attention they need.