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Welcome to IFLI's July 2016 eNewsletter


In this issue:

IFLI Inner Forth Festival 2016 announced



Following on from the success of our first festival in 2015, we are pleased to say that this September will see the return of the IFLI Inner Forth Festival - thirty-three events celebrating the unique history, wildlife and people of the area.

The events - all of which are free to attend thanks to the way we are funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund -  will take place throughout the month. They include an art exhibition, a cruise along the Inner Forth, outdoor cookery classes, ID workshops, a history-themed bike ride, healthy walking and cycling events, archaeological and historical talks and a play written especially for us about the fascinating trading history of Alloa.

We are very grateful to the huge range of organisations and volunteers that make the Festival possible by organising, running and supporting the month's events. 

Take a look at the flyer here, and keep an eye on our events calendar, as more events may still be added to the list. 

Last year the festival attracted over 1000 people, and the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive, with attendees saying how much they enjoyed their day, and what a great place the Inner Forth is. As with all our events throughout the year, the Festival aims to encourage everyone and anyone discover and explore what the Inner Forth area has to offer. We hope you will join us.
 


Forth Nature Count Figures Revealed


Through our Forth Nature Counts project we are building a better picture of wildlife found throughout the Inner Forth. Between April and June 2016, twenty people added 1,324 records of 294 species to the Inner Forth Nature Counts form on iRecord.

If you have added a record, thank you! If you have been tempted to in the past, but not yet got around to it, then summer is an ideal time to get outside and see what wildlife you can find. Just through making a note of species you see on the way to work, walking the dog or taking the kids to school, you will probably build up quite a list in no time. Remember to record what you saw, when and where you saw it – the iRecord form will ask for all of these things. While we are most interested in records from the Inner Forth area, you can submit your sightings from all over the UK to this iRecord form, so don’t let being away put you off! If you follow IFLI on Facebook or Twitter you will have seen our target species sheet showing the three species that we are asking you to look out for each month. This month we are asking you to look out for:
  • Small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly
  • Harebell 
  • Zebra jumping spider.
The last is often found in urban areas so take a look on walls, in your garage or on tree trunks. If you see any of these, do let us know by adding your record to the Inner Forth Nature Counts form on iRecord.

Happy recording!

Target Species - July
 


A busy weekend at Kennetpans




Kennetpans Distillery, near Clackmannan. Photo David Palmar/www.photoscot.co.uk

On 9 - 10 July, IFLI held a weekend of activities focused on the warehouse at Kennetpans Distillery in Clackmannanshire. We held a Bioblitz, a Sketch Tour and two days of archaeological surveying. 

Gemma from AOC Archaeology worked her socks off to compile the images below for us in record time. They will give you an idea of what the warehouse site looks like today:
  • A mesh of one of the fireplaces on the ground floor of the warehouse; created by photogrammetry from a few quick snaps taken over the weekend: https://skfb.ly/Qyt6 
  • A laser scan point cloud of one elevation of the warehouse (the YouTube version is much lower res than the original): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygjwKwdMTjM
Scott from Buglife is working on a full list of species from the Bioblitz. We recorded a wide range, including slugs, birds, a common frog and a whole load of bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) and flowering plants. One highlight for many was this incredible lunar hornet moth found by ecologist Rory Whytock. It’s not a particularly rare species in the UK, but is not often seen as it is not attracted to light – light emitting moth traps are the ‘usual’ way of surveying for moths. All our records from the day will be added to the Forth Nature Counts form on iRecord by the IFLI team or by those who took part on the day.

Lunar hornet moth (c) Scott Shanks












It really is a lunar hornet moth, not a real hornet!  (c) Scott Shanks

Last but not least Mark Kirkham, aka the Edinburgh Sketcher, led a group of sketchers around the site capturing aspects of the buildings from different angles. After initial quick sketches in pen, the group were soon adding watercolour to their works to highlight the light and range of colours found at the site. 
We have had some great feedback from the weekend and very much enjoyed showing off this fantastic project site to all who joined us. Keep an eye on the events calendar for future events that bring together history, nature and skills. 

























 


The new Grangepans Wildflower Meadow




Grangepans Meadow looks spectacular! Photo Suzanne Burgess/Buglife

The native wildflower meadow created in the Grangepans area of Bo’ness, close to the railway museum, is in full bloom, with corn poppies, corn marigolds and cornflower making a spectacular display. The meadow has been a big hit with our native wild pollinating insects, the local people who visit the area every day to walk their dogs, and the many visitors that are using the John Muir Way that passes by the meadow. A new interpretation panel explaining the importance of wildflower meadows has now been installed next to a new bench that allows people to sit and either enjoy the meadow or the view down the Firth of Forth. This interpretation panel has information on some of the perennial wildflowers that will be seen next year. The bench has been installed through a local arts project managed by Studio 8. 

The meadow was sown with a mixture of native annual and perennial wildflowers so that this first year there would be plenty of colour from the various different annual species, giving time for the perennials that will be in flower in next year to grow. The meadow in its current state will have nothing else added to it, but in late September it will be cut and these cuttings will be removed to reduce nutrients. This will help the flowers to grow next year by reducing the competition from the stronger grasses. Native grasses have also been sown into this meadow to provide important nesting for bees and grasshoppers. 

So far, Buglife have recorded lots of different bumblebees, including the tree bumblebee that only arrived into the UK in 2001. Butterflies, including meadow brown and green veined white, along with a  six spot burnet moth and lots of common green grasshoppers have also been recorded. 

Volunteers installing the first interpretation sign

















Volunteers install the first intepretation sign. Photo Ali Lawson

Much of the work at Grangepans has been carried out by volunteers from the Carriden Community after-school club, as well as groups of IFLI Landscape Management trainees. Ali Lawson of The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) has been managing the trainees since 2014, and says: “In the last few weeks the seventh group of trainees has been whittled done to one, all the rest now having moved on to positive destinations. So in the remaining days we have stuck to smaller projects and tidying up sites worked on during the programme. One of the small jobs we completed was to spend a sunny day down at Bo’ness Harbour installing interpretation boards for the rewilding of the John Muir Way. Some weeks ago the trainees and I planted over 2,000 wildflower plug plants on this site which now are in full bloom, a spectacular sight.” The next group of trainees starts their thirteen week programme on 20 July, so look out for them working at IFLI sites and around the Inner Forth area.

The meadow will be in flower till mid-September but is changing all the time, so get down to see it soon!

For information about the meadow please contact Suzanne Burgess at suzanne.burgess@buglife.org.uk 
 

Inner Forth volunteers have been travelling




Midge nets are essential kit at RSPB Inversnaid. Photo Allison Leonard/RSPB

The summer months are quite quiet around the Inner Forth for habitat management so instead of cancelling any work parties, the volunteers decided to travel away from the Inner Forth to help out at another RSPB reserve.  June saw two groups of volunteers brave the Scottish midges and travel to RSPB Inversnaid on the east shore of Loch Lomond to help out with some bracken pulling. The prospect of seeing ospreys fishing in the loch or eagles soaring over nearby hills, and maybe squeeze in a little bird watching could also have been a tempting factor!

Bracken is a serious problem at RSPB Inversnaid as it shades out small oak and birch saplings, which are the next generation for the rare Atlantic oak woodlands found on the reserve, so each year sections of it are pulled a couple of times to help reduce the area it covers.  

This is an activity that the Inner Forth volunteers wouldn’t normally get experience of on any of the Inner Forth reserves, so it was of benefit to everyone. The trees get to bask in the sunshine and the volunteers get to add another string to their bows.
 

Black Devon Wetlands needs you!



Black Devon Wetlands. Photo R. Trevis-Smith

We really need volunteers for a new conservation workforce being put together to take on habitat management at the new RSPB Black Devon reserve.

The reserve, which is managed by RSPB Scotland on a lease from Clackmannan Council, occupies 38 hectares of wet and dry grassland to the south-east of Alloa, in an area between the Black Devon and Forth rivers. Volunteers will get the chance to see the site and the amazing wildlife there from a perspective unavailable to most visitors, as well as gaining practical, hands-on experience in practical habitat management techniques.

The work aims to restore the wetlands and surrounding grassland into a suite of habitats rich in wildlife, and ensure it remains accessible for the public. Part of this work will involve the construction of a boardwalk and viewing area on the site. Meanwhile, the mosaic of pools and wet and rough grassland will be managed to ensure they are appealing and suitable for the summer-breeding, and wintering wildfowl, waders and other birds.

The first work parties will take place at the end of August, with the exact dates announced nearer the time. If you would like more information or to sign up please contact Naill Traynor on 01324 832853 or niall.traynor@rspb.org.uk

There is more information about Black Devon wetlands available on both the IFLI and RSPB websites.
 

Another opportunity to get involved in local archaeology!


IFLI volunteers at Gartmorn Dam, 2015

Another chance to get involved in archaeological fieldwork coming up! Photo Kirsty McAlister/IFLI

Work will soon be underway on The Hidden Remains of Higgins Neuk, an IFLI project managed by The SCAPE Trust, which aims to involve local communities in revealing the environmental and cultural history of the Inner Forth. 

Higgins Neuk, near Airth, is a former royal dockyard with connections to James IV, and this project will research and survey the area, which comprises of a series of docks and mills, with a view to reveal more about this important part of Inner Forth history. It's also a fantastic opportunity for volunteers to be involved in all aspects of archaeological fieldwork and gain skills in surveying, recording and excavating, as well as historical research and environmental sampling. 

The preparatory archaeological investigation, including geophysical surveying and soil sampling, will take place later this year, with an excavation planned for next year. The SCAPE Trust will be hosting two events in the run-up to this: an information evening on 15 September and a guided walk of the site on 24 September.

For more information on the project please contact Elinor Graham-Allsop from The SCAPE Trust at elg5@st-andrews.ac.uk or 01334 463017. 

 

New talent found for IFLI project




Thanks to IFLI's Training Tomorrow's Talent project we now have two talented new people working here at RSPB Skinflats. Training Tomorrow's Talent is an ongoing IFLI project that provides in-work placements to people wanting to gain skills and experience in the 'green sector', to help them to get onto the employment ladder in this area.

Marcia Rae joins us as RSPB Inner Forth Futurescapes Project Assistant, and Nicholas Reid as IFLI Events and Outreach Assistant. Both recently began work on 18-month placements at Skinflats

Their appointments follow ten placements arranged at locations across the Inner Forth area in 2014-2015. We are delighted to report that the majority of these placements did indeed go on to find jobs in the green sector.

Commenting on his new role, Nicholas said: "As someone who has lived in the area their whole life, it's very exciting to be able to contribute to a project like IFLI. I feel that not only can I really expand my own knowledge about my surroundings, and help to promote them through our work, but also benefit myself professionally by having such an in-depth work placement".

Marcia added: "Growing up in Fife I was aware of the area but focused more on the hills, like the Ochils, and the landscape to the north, so I am glad to be working on a project that switches that perspective to the fascinating habitats, wildlife and heritage of the Inner Forth area". 

You can find out more about the Training Tomorrow's Talent project here.
 

What's on around the Inner Forth


Full details of all our events, and some organised by friends and partners, for the coming months can be found on the IFLI website Events Calendar. Here is a taste of what’s coming up in the next few weeks:

Fallin Bing Survey Walk – Come and Try Event
1:00pm – 3:30pm
Wednesday 27th July
Fallin Bing, Fallin
Details here

Wet Wellies and Water
10:00am – 12:00pm
Wednesday 3rd August
Gartmorn Dam Country Park
Details here

Dragonfly & Damselfly ID Workshop (Fully booked)
10:00am – 4:00pm
Saturday 6th August
DELTA Studios, Larbert
Details here

Family Camp Out
All day
Friday 12th August
Gartmorn Dam Country Park
Details here

Woodland Skills Day
10:00am – 1:00pm
Saturday 13th August
Deanburn Glen, Bo’ness
Details here

Mothing Around the Forth 5 (Fully booked)
8:30am – 10:30am
Sunday 14th August
Location TBC
Details here

Delph Pond Field Excursion
10:30am – 3:30pm
Saturday 20th August
Delph Pond, Tullibody
Details here

Mothing Around the Forth 6
8:30am – 10:30am
Tuesday 30th August
Polmaise Waste Recycling Facility, Stirling
Details here
 
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