Spring has sprung in Edinburgh (amongst other places!)

We’ve been having a busy couple of months with the Edinburgh Midweek Group this season, having completed several projects in and around Edinburgh and the Lothians, as well as a huge display of teamwork and hard work at the Seven Lochs project in Glasgow where we worked alongside the Stirling and Glasgow volunteers for eight weeks!

Team Edinburgh!

Volunteers from Edinburgh, Stirling and Glasgow Mid Week Groups.

Back in February the group started helping out at the beautiful Howden Walled Garden in Livingston. Here our aim was to create an edible walkway around the garden’s walls for the community to enjoy. The first task was to clear the walls and the ground to make room for some fruit trees and bushes – no easy feat! Fortunately someone had kindly left a supermarket trolley in the grounds to help us with the moving!

The volunteers were also kept busy repairing a beautiful walkway made of willow, for the local community to enjoy.

A few weeks later we returned to the garden to plant the fruit bushes; raspberries, gooseberries, cherries and strawberries, among a few others. What a difference!

—————————————————–

At the end of February we started work at the Seven Lochs Wetland Park in Glasgow; an urban nature project focused on protecting and enhancing the biodiversity and heritage of the wetland area, as well as providing a space for locals and visitors to enjoy (GCV Green Network Partnership).
Alongside the Stirling and Glasgow teams, our volunteers worked hard over the course of almost two months! We undertook a variety of tasks; preparing the land for wildflower planting, digging ponds and creating water channels, as well as some general woodland management work.

We also worked hard to improve the boardwalk at Hogganfield Park, placing non-slip grip strips (try saying that quickly three times!) along each plank of wood to make it safer for visitors to enjoy the beautiful views over the loch.

Our favourite project (or mine at least!) was helping to create floating bio-havens to sit on top of the loch. These bio-havens were made of recycled materials and adorned with various wetland plants (gathered by our volunteers). They will be providing a key shelter for birds and pond life on the loch.

—————————————————–
Across April and May we’ve been doing various bits and pieces of work at the Peebles Community Action Network (CAN) Garden. Our first big job was to help lay the wooden foundations of the new flower beds and path within their brand new poly tunnel.

The next time we visited we spent an amazingly sunny (and very warm!) couple of days building an incredible 16 new raised beds for the garden. It was a brilliant team effort and we had some fantastic help from the local families who would be using the beds, giving them the opportunity to see how they were built and to be part of the building process. Even the little ones were keen to help!

—————————————————–

Although we’ve been busy doing work elsewhere, we certainly haven’t forgotten about our local Edinburgh parks!
In the lovely Figgate Park near Portobello our volunteers helped with some path clearance, working to make the stairs safer and more accessible. We were also helping to stabilise the river bank by panting native shrubs and trees, which will also help to increase biodiversity and create wildlife habitats.

We’ve also been busy in Starbank Park this year, working closely with their ‘Friends Of’ group. Some of the tasks we’ve been involved in were neatening their path edges, trimming bed borders, clearing away vegetation in preparation for summer growth, lots and lots of weeding and, of course, the most coveted job; helping to turn and cycle their compost area.

Last but not least, we were in the beautiful Braidburn Valley Park doing path edging. What a difference we made!

It’s been a wonderful and jam-packed few months and we’re all looking forward to spending some more time in the sun (and the rain) over summer!

Kathryn (Volunteer Officer)

Become a Flood Warden Volunteer!

Do you want to learn more about your local area and help reduce flood risk?

Become a Flood Warden Volunteer!

We will provide all FREE training, support and guidance for the project to:

  • Monitor, record and clear debris from burns
  • Identify and record invasive non-native plant species

*No previous knowledge of the subject required*

Express an interest or find out more contact Amanda Malcolm, a.malcolm@tcv.org.uk or Mobile 07917 460488

Citizen Science – Community River Monitoring Volunteer Project

As part of our Scotland Counts programme we’ve produced a report – on the data collected from our Citizen Science ‘Community River Monitoring Volunteer project’ – Monitoring Sediment Movement and Blockages on Hillfoots Burns in partnership with Clackmannanshire Council.  

This report provides a brief summary and feedback of the project and presents the data collected by the Community River Monitoring volunteers and this data source will feed into Clackmannanshire Councils forthcoming Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) options appraisal report for Tillicoultry.

This illustrates how citizen scientists can collect and generate useful data for the Council and feed directly into Council plans / reports and can influence future FRM approaches for the Council and at the same time fulfilled the needs, interests and abilities of volunteers involved – a real collaborative approach between Clackmannanshire Council and citizen scientists! 

Well done to everyone involved 🙂 !!

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 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!

Clearing up

Clearing up


Chop Chop!

Chop Chop!

Next, get digging!

Man on a mission...

Man on a mission…


All together now

All together now

Spaces cleared, ground prepared so time to fill them in…

New place to dry

New place to dry


Planting the planters

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.

Digging out the path.

Walk this way!

Walk this way!

A garden has its possessions so needs somewhere to keep its things tidy.

rsz_1dscf7301_-_copy (1)

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.

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.

Perfect on a sunny afternoon..

Perfect on a sunny afternoon..

How to Engage Volunteers in Citizen Science

As part of the Scotland Counts projects we have recently completed some research on the best ways to engage volunteers in Citizen Science.

Engaging volunteers screen shot

We hope the report will be useful to anyone setting up, running or managing Citizen Science projects, be they research institutions, government departments, NGOs or community groups.

The report includes ideas on current participation in Citizen Science, motivation of volunteers and practical hints and tips for engaging new audiences.

You can download the report for free from our website here.  There are lots of other resources also available on our Citizen Science resource page.