Action for Nature
Action for Nature project aimed to raise awareness of and engage people with urban and rural biodiversity throughout the Inner Forth area, using Ladybirds and Orchards as flagship species and habitats, with a particular emphasis on local schools and community groups.
Orchards are a wonderful, but sadly diminishing resource, with many of the small orchards in our traditional growing areas of Forth and Clyde Valley being replaced by commercial orchards in England or Europe. Orchards have a long history in this area, with some research linking them to abbeys and monastries that were established as early as the 1100s.
The project began by providing local primary schools with education packs, which included wildflower seeds or fruit trees, along with advice and guidance to encourage them to create different habitats in their grounds and giving talks to local people to increase awareness. The first year of the project, 2014, focused on ladybirds, with the work on orchards following the year after.
As a result of this preliminary work, the project was able to restore 3 old orchards in Cambuskenneth, Zetland Park (Grangemouth) and Burnside Park (Carronshore) and train 30 people in a variety of new skills including pruning and planting an orchard, winter pruning and grafting. The restoration of previous orchards also meant that heritage varieties of fruit trees were re-established. The reaction from passers-by were very positive, and maintainence of the orchards will pass into the hands of relevant community groups, assuring that the orchards remain a notable point of interaction with those communities.
More information and statistics about Action For Nature can be found in the end-of-project report below.
Did you know that Scotland has over 15 different species of Ladybird, with over 40 in the rest of the UK? They all need different habitats to live, eat and hibernate in. In 2014, CSGNT, with funding from SNH and the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative developed a project which aimed to provide more homes for Ladybirds, across Central Scotland. Part of that project was to develop school Love Your Ladybird kits. Twenty two schools in the Inner Forth area signed up and received a Love Your Ladybirds kit so that they could find out what ladybirds they have in their grounds and how to improve their grounds to attract more species. There was also a hibernation hotel kits for a small group of children to make.
In 2015, the "Plant a mini orchard" campaign aimed to work with 60 primary schools in the Inner Forth area to help them create and look after an orchard in their school grounds. The official definition of an orchard is 5 fruit trees, so each school that signed up to 'Plant a mini orchard' was provided with 5 apple trees, along with all the resources needed to plan, plant and look after the orchard. Included in the pack was advice on all aspects of orchard management and maintenance as well as a Teachers Resource Pack which showed how orchards can be used in the classroom for all areas of the curriculum.
Most of the resources are available to download from the CSGNT Orchard Resources and Information page and can be used by any school individual or community group who will find them useful.
As well as CSGNT's contribution, funding was been received from Scottish Natural Heritage, Heritage Lottery Fund through the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative and Clyde & Avon Valley Landscape Partnership. Forth Valley Orchards Initiative, Clyde Valley Orchards Group, Larkhall Community Growers and the Castlebank Centre provided valuable assistance to the project, and worked with schools and ran training courses on orchard management.
Images: Apples, J.Smith; Schools Pack, E.Wadsworth; Apple Blossom, B.Fagan.
Find out more at http://www.csgnt.org.uk/activities/love-our-ladybirds