Discover new wildlife hotspots in the Inner Forth

Are you interested in nature? Would you like to discover a new wildlife haven and learn more about the species that live there? The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) is hosting a series of walks in Falkirk, Fife, Stirling and Clackmannanshire to showcase its project sites and explore the wildlife in more detail. Local people are invited to come along, enjoy the walk and use some simple wildlife identification techniques to unlock the secrets of each unique location.

The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative is responsible for six Survey Walk routes in a range of locations with a team of registered volunteers who have been walking these routes on a regular basis, identifying wildlife and recording their sightings. These upcoming events are an opportunity for existing volunteers to share the experiences and knowledge they have gained in the process of getting to know their adopted Survey Walk, and to encourage new people to get involved.

The sessions will consist of a guided walk where established volunteers and newcomers can share their observations and work together to record new species. With the help of IFLI’s Wildlife Recording Assistant, attendees will walk the route and spend some time identifying plants, birds, mammals and insects. Results will be contributed to the National Biodiversity Network recording scheme, which will help future conservation work and research. IFLI is keen to encourage people of any experience level to join in the walk and learn more about the area, the wildlife and the ongoing work of the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative.

Commenting on the events, Adam Ross, IFLI Wildlife Recording Assistant said:

“This is an excellent opportunity for our volunteers to regroup and share their experiences of recording wildlife in the Inner Forth area. Our volunteers have been surveying these sites for a while now, monitoring seasonal changes and improving their knowledge with every visit, so I’m looking forward to hearing about their observations. I hope newcomers will be inspired to explore these locations and consider getting involved with recording and volunteering themselves. These events compliment the other work being done as part of the Forth Nature Counts project which aims to increase the level of wildlife recording in the area. We’re running 21 different Wildlife Identification workshops this year and our Survey Walks also offer people the chance to put new knowledge into practice.”

The free sessions will take place in a variety of locations, including historic estates in High Valleyfield and Bo’ness, RSPB’s newest nature reserve in Alloa, the sprawling Devilla pinewood forest and the former coal mining bing in Fallin, which has now been re-designated as a wildflower meadow. Each site has its own unique personality, with a range of fascinating habitats and species. Here is the full list of dates:

·         Friday 17th June, 5pm – Kinneil Estate, Bo’ness.

·         Friday 24th June, 10am –Valleyfield Estate, High Valleyfield.

·         Wednesday 27th July, 1pm  - Fallin Bing, Fallin.

·         Friday 19th August, 1pm -  Devilla Forest, Kincardine.

·         Thursday 15th September, 4.30pm – Kinneil Local Nature Reserve & Foreshore, Bo’ness

·         Saturday 24th September, 2.30pm – Black Devon Wetlands Reserve, Alloa.

Like all IFLI events, each Survey Walk session is free of charge, thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the National Lottery.  No previous knowledge or experience is necessary, but under 16s should be accompanied by an adult. As sessions are mostly outside, IFLI advises that you wear sensible outdoor clothing and footwear for the weather forecasted and for walking off footpaths. Advance booking is advised.  Contact Adam Ross, 01324 831568, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and to book your place.

These workshops are part of a suite of activities and events that will be organised over the next two years as part of IFLI’s Forth Nature Counts project.  The project aims to generate wildlife records and give people the confidence and skills to record nature throughout the Inner Forth, and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the National Lottery.

First May the Forth Fun Run takes off

Over 120 runners joined in the May the Forth Fun Run at Bo'ness! You can check times and placings here. IFLI worked in partnership with The Friends of Kinneil to organise the event, with lots of help of course! Despite the darkening skies and strong winds, runners from all around the Inner Forth area and beyond turned up to tackle the 4-mile, off-road course. All the runners were awarded special ceramic 'medals' cast from shells and stones from the Bo'ness Foreshore, made by Falkirk potter Susan Wade French. The winners also received hand-thrown plates showing the view across the bay of the Inner Forth. Our thanks to all the runners, volunteers, and organising team (Falkirk Community Trust, Falkirk Council, Bo'ness Chiropractic and Sports Massage, Friends of Kinneil Foreshore Group) for their support. There are loads of photos and a provisional results list at https://www.facebook.com/events/1688192378136558/. We will be posting more, along with the final results list very soon. If you did take part we hope you had a great time, and will give us your feedback.

Images: In keeping with the theme of the day, Princes Leia helps with registration!; Runners wait to get started; British Olympic marathon runner Freya Ross (in pale green) gave out the prizes to the winning runners, helped by Rob Storey of Bo'ness Choropractic and Sports Massage (l), who came up with the original idea for the run. Details of the winning names at https://www.facebook.com/events/1688192378136558/.

Become a citizen scientist by ‘Mothing Around the Forth’

Would you like learn more about the moths of the Forth estuary area, practise your identification skills and contribute to a national species recording scheme this summer? The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) has teamed up with local moth enthusiast Professor David Bryant to run a series of seven fun, free workshops called ‘Mothing Around the Forth’ which will give people of all ages a chance to discover more about this declining species, have a go at moth trapping and generate wildlife records for Butterfly Conservation’s UK wide survey of moth numbers and distribution.

On 14th May from 08.30am to 12 noon, the first workshop will introduce the range of moths found at different times of year; give you a chance to get started on moth id and using identification guides as we open moth traps left out overnight at the RSPB Skinflats Reserve near Falkirk; and enable you to build and take home your very own simple moth trap. All materials will be provided free of charge thanks to IFLI’s funding from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. We ask that attendees of the first session can commit to attending at least three additional sessions, but ideally more so that you can build your moth identification confidence and see the different species of moth found in a range of locations.

Spaces on all sessions are openly available to all and free of charge, but priority for sessions 2-7 will be given to those who attended the first session on 14th May. Sessions two to seven will be held at a range of sites throughout the Inner Forth area during summer 2016 on the following dates:

·         Session 2: Saturday 18th June, 08:30 – 10:30, RSPB Black Devon Wetlands Reserve, Clackmannanshire

·         Session 3: Sunday 3rd July, details TBC

·         Session 4: Thursday 14th July, 08:30 – 10:30, FCS Devilla Forest, Fife

·         Session 5: Sunday 14th August, details TBC

·         Session 7: Saturday 17th September, details TBC

Kate Fuller, IFLI Community Engagement Officer says: “As part of IFLI’s Forth Nature Counts project, the ‘Mothing Around the Forth’ series is a fantastic opportunity to visit a range of locations to uncover the different moths that call this corner of central Scotland home. Participants will see their identification skills and confidence build as the sessions go by and in addition to common species we hope to find some less-recorded moths. By either building a moth trap during the first session, or borrowing equipment from the IFLI team we will support attendees to have a go at moth trapping in their own time and garden or local greenspace. All records generated will feed into Butterfly Conservation’s upcoming Moth Atlas and be a valuable contribution to nature conservation and understanding.”

David Bryant commented on how moths can help indicate the health of the countryside: “Moths fly at night so are unknown to most of us. Nevertheless, many moths are brightly coloured and appealing once seen closely, and at the same time they and their ‘duller’ cousins play a vital role in the natural world. Not least, a very high proportion of our summer-visiting birds, from warblers to Cuckoos travel from Africa each year to feast on ‘our’ moth caterpillars (they don’t come for the weather!). For this and other reasons, it is important to know what moths are present and whether they are thriving. Sadly, a recent report showed that most of our moths are in decline and this is part of the explanation for parallel declines in farmland and woodland birds. By recording the variety of species and number of moths found in different areas you will be helping build a better picture of moths presence and/absence throughout the landscape.”

Like all IFLI events, each ‘Mothing around the Forth’ session is free of charge, thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the National Lottery.  No previous knowledge or experience is necessary, but under 16s should be accompanied by an adult. As sessions are mostly outside, we advise that you wear sensible outdoor clothing and footwear for the weather forecasted and for walking off footpaths. Advance booking is essential as places are limited.  Contact Kate Fuller, 01324 831568, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and to book your place.

These workshops are part of a suite of activities and events that will be organised over the next two years as part of IFLI’s Forth Nature Counts project.  The project aims to generate wildlife records and give people the confidence and skills to record nature throughout the Inner Forth, and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the National Lottery.

IFLI welcomes new Programme Manager

 

On 22 March our IFLI Programme Manager Kate Studd left to start her maternity leave. Kate has played a pivotal role in IFLI, leading it through the development phase, and for the last year making sure we stayed on track to deliver our many projects.

Whilst Kate is on maternity leave, Alex Page has taken up the role of Programme Manager. Before coming to us, Alex was Programme Director of Raleigh International in Tanzania, and was also involved in the development of the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership, so he has lots of great experience to bring to the role. We hope everyone will join us in welcomming Alex to the team and look forward to working with him during his time with us.

IFLI is hiring!

 

IFLI is looking for two enthusiastic people to join the team here at RSPB Skinflats Nature Reserve, near Grangemouth.

We are looking for one person with creativity and a passion for engaging people in their natural and historic environment to join the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) team for a unique 18 month opportunity to gain skills and experience in event organisation, interpretation and community outreach, as our Events and Outreach Assistant.

For the second vacancy, as the Inner Forth Futurescape Project Assistant, we are looking to recruit a passionate and committed individual who can inspire local people about the amazing wildlife of the Inner Forth, and who is also eager to learn new skills to progress their career in conservation.

These posts are part of our IFLI Training Tomorrow’s Talent project. So far we have employed 12 people, both directly through IFLI and through partner organisations. We are proud to say that a number of them have now gone on to find other jobs partly as a result of their time with us.

As a trainee, you will have access to a range of training and development opportunities. If you would like to find out more detailed information, and download an application pack, follow the link for the Events and Outreach Assistant and the Inner Forth Futurescape Project Assistant.

Image: Some of our previous Training Tomorrow's Talent trainees. Photo by Robert Trevis-Smith/IFLI

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