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In this issue:

Hello Alex – au revoir Kate!

Programme managers Alex and Kate (Image Sue Walker/IFLI)

On 22 March we said au revoir to our IFLI programme manager Kate Studd as she goes off on maternity leave. Kate has played a pivotal role in IFLI, leading it through the development phase, and for the last year making sure we stay on track to deliver our many projects.

Joining us to take on the post while she is away is Alex Page. Before coming to us, Alex was Country Director of for Raleigh International in Tanzania, and previously led the successful development phase of the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership,. He has over 20 years’ experience with the charity and public sectors, with a focus on environmental conservation, poverty alleviation and youth development. Our thanks to Kate for all she has done for the Initiative so far – and of course a big welcome to Alex!
IFLI is hiring!

Some of our previous Training Tomorrow's Talent trainees.
(Image Robert Trevis-Smith/IFLI)

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 part-time 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. The closing date for both posts is 11 April.
 

Schools plant trees for the future

 
Primary school children helping out at Valleyfield Estate Community Orchard project (Image: John le Marie)
 
Over 250 pupils helped West Fife Woodlands Community Group to plant fruit trees at the new Valleyfield Estate Community Orchard last month. Children and teachers from Torryburn, Saline, Inzievar, St Serfs, Tuliallan, Culross or Holy Name Primary Schools.worked alongside volunteers from West Fife Woodlands group, to plant up the orchard then played orchard themed games and walked the snowdrop trail through the woods. The 176 fruit trees planted are apple, pear, plum, cherry, quince, damson, gage and hazelnut. This new orchard includes 30 heritage trees - varieties that have grown in this area of Scotland for many years.

It takes a while for an orchard to develop, so please be patient! We expect trees to start producing fruit in three years. As the project continues there will be loads of opportunities for volunteers and members of the local community to participate in species recording, fruit harvesting and celebration - please search 'West Fife Woodlands' on facebook to get in touch with the group. 

Introducing RSPB Black Devon Wetlands

 
Stonechat (Image: RSPB Images)

In February the RSPB ran an ‘Introducing Black Devon Wetlands’ event to give local people a chance to find out more about the new nature reserve on their doorstep. It’s early days for the site, so plans to improve the access and viewing opportunities were yet to be put in place. However this, and the unpredictable weather, didn’t put a damper on the day.

Fourteen people joined David Anderson, RSPB Inner Forth Futurescapes officer, and Adam Ross, IFLI Wildlife Recording Assistant, for the Wildlife Adventure Walks through the wetlands.  They had great views of tufted duck, teal and shelduck on the pools and were then treated to tea, coffee and biscuits in the marquee. They were able to view the design for the new viewing structure planned for the reserve, and chat to staff about other habitat management plans for the site.  A few very lucky visitors even got views of a little stonechat flitting about near the marquee.  All in all, it was a very successful day and hopefully the first of many at RSPB Black Devon Wetlands.

If you’re interested in finding out more information about the Black Devon Wetlands project then contact Yvonne Boles, Yvonne.boles@rspb.org.uk.

IFLI bursary helps students to research projects

 

 Hazel's dissertation helps throw light on the mystery of the many rooms at Kennetpans Distillery (Image: David Palmar/www.photoscot.co.uk)


Last year IFLI teamed up with the Division of History and Politics at the University of Stirling to offer students undertaking an MSc in Environment, Heritage and Politics the chance to gain a bursary. Students were required to undertake a directed dissertation on a subject related to one or more IFLI projects.

The successful student was Hazel Ramage, who chose to investigate the distillery building at Kennetpans.Through a combination of desk-based research and geo-archaeology, including soil sampling, Hazel’s research sheds more light on the historical layout and uses of the various rooms within the distillery building, and thus gains insight into the scale at which it operated.

Hazel’s completed dissertation, entitled ‘Kennetpans: the site and the wider landscape’, can be read in full on the IFLI website. Hazel’s findings have contributed considerably to the on-going discussions about the history of Kennetpans, and will help with future interpretation of the site.

This year, the bursary has gone to another, student, Sophie McDonald. We’ll let her introduce herself...

       This year's bursary winner Sophie McDonald

Hello! My name is Sophie McDonald and I’m a postgraduate student at the University of Stirling, currently studying for an MSc in Environment, Heritage and Policy. This summer, I’ll be carrying out my dissertation project with support from IFLI, looking at what motivates people to get involved with promoting and looking after the cultural or natural heritage of their local area, and any barriers to this that they face.
 
Over the next few months, I’m hoping to interview people involved in heritage initiatives along the Inner Forth, in particular anyone involved in community-led action to conserve and promote their local heritage, whether that means putting on talks about local archaeological sites, research into local archives, looking after woodlands and waterways, tracking animal and insect species, or even helping to keep craft skills or musical traditions alive. The only stipulation is that the activities I am interested in have been initiated by local people, rather than large national or international organisations. However I am still interested in talking to locally-instigated initiatives that have received or are currently receiving funding from larger bodies.

The aim of this research is to get a better idea of how community-based heritage initiatives within the IFLI catchment area work, in order to inform the Initiative’s future dealings with them. The intention is to gain a better understanding of who is involved in community-led heritage projects, what motivates them to get involved, and the barriers to achieving their aims. IFLI can then work towards broadening participation in these types of activity, designing research projects that are as inclusive as possible for local groups interested in heritage, and trying to remove any barriers to community group involvement in IFLI projects..

I am currently in the process of reaching out to local heritage initiatives to see if their members or participants would be willing to be interviewed by me about their activities. If you or anyone you know is involved in community-led heritage action along the Inner Forth, whether that involves looking after cultural or natural heritage, please feel free to get in touch with me. I’d love to hear from you about your experiences! My email address is sem00049@students.stir.ac.uk.

Cambuskenneth project will bear fruit

 


Newly planted trees at Cambuskenneth (Emilie Wadsworth/CSGNT)


Thanks to sterling work by the IFLI landscape management trainees, Tower Orchard at Cambuskenneth has now been re-planted as part of CSGNT’s Fruitful Landscapes project. Twenty-one apple and plum trees have been planted, and protected from cattle, rabbits and deer with traditional parkland fences, in part of what was once a much larger orchard owned and managed by the monks at Cambuskenneth Abbey. To complement the orchard, six heritage apple trees have also been planted in the local park on South Street by members of the Community Council.

Next steps in the Fruitful Landscapes project is to re-plant Kinneil House orchard in Bo’ness with two local primary schools at the end of March. If anyone is interested in getting involved in the maintenance and management of either orchard, or getting involved in an Orchard Network to learn about looking after orchards, and using fruit, please contact Emilie Wadsworth at CSGNT: emilie.wadsworth@csgnt.org.uk

The highs and lows of camera trapping

 

A still from a video of of a roe deer captured on one of our camera traps (Adam Ross/IFLI)

Adam Ross, our Wildlife Recording Assistant, explains the joys and tribulations of camera trapping.

I’ve been doing a bit of camera trap monitoring in the Inner Forth. It’s a great way of finding out a bit more about the animal life that exists in the area, particularly shy and nocturnal species that we don’t often see with our own eyes. I’m also hoping to maybe get some specific footage to use in the Mustelid workshop in August.

It’s definitely not what I’d call an instantly satisfying exercise. There’s a lot of duff footage and plenty of frustrating moments due to human error (ie me forgetting to turn it on), technical hiccups or weather conditions. For instance, I brought the camera in this week after leaving it next to a likely-looking mammal path for five or six days but all I was rewarded with was 400 videos of gently swaying grass and a load of flat batteries!

However I enjoy the feeling of anticipation that comes from retrieving the camera, plugging it in and waiting for the files to upload - it becomes quite addictive. I am sharing the more noteworthy results (don’t worry, no swaying grass) on the IFLI Facebook page. Just click on the Videos section of the page to see what has been uploaded so far. There are a couple of interesting videos of roe deer as well as some hyper-speed wood mice! Hopefully there will be more to come as the seasons unfold.

If you’re doing any camera trap monitoring of your own or would like advice on how to get started then we’d love to hear from you.

Now easier to get to nature in Clacks!


Cambus Pools Nature Reserve will be easier to visit thanks to the new path (Image: Robert Trevis-Smith)

It’s now easier to walk to two nature reserves in Clackmannanshire thanks to two access projects that have been delivered by Central Scotland Green Network Trust through IFLI.

If you have visited the RSPB’s Black Devon Wetlands nature reserve recently you will see that there have been significant improvements to the standard of some of the paths leading into the reserve. This is thanks to the IFLI ‘Walk to the Wetlands’ project led by CSGNT. The paths to the west and south of the reserve are almost complete. There are also plans to improve the routes to the north and east of Black Devon Wetlands, which will be completed later in the project.

Further west, the path leading to Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Cambus Pools nature reserve has also been very much improved. This not only makes the reserve and local area much more accessible for walkers, but means that SWT will be able to bring in some very welcome volunteers to help it maintain the site. Cattle will be brought in periodically to graze off some of the overgrown areas, helping to keep the pools clearer for the waders and wildfowl that are found there.

Tower project gets underway

 

Work is underway to make the tower parapet safer (Image: Sue Walker/IFLI)

Work is underway to make the parapet of Clackmannan Tower a safer place to look out from. Although the tower, a nationally important 14th century keep built by Sir Robert Bruce, is not open to the public on a daily basis, Historic Environment Scotland do open it to visitors for guided tours on special open days. On these days extensive measures have had to be taken to make the parapet safe for visitors, as there were large gaps between some of the stones between the wall and the walkway. The work currently underway, through the IFLI View from Clackmannan Tower project, aims to close these gaps on a permanent basis, making the area much safer to access.

Drystone dyke apprentices build on their experience


The trainees gain valuable experience and improve the local area  (Image: Brian Wilkinson/IFLI)
 
Working in partnership with Falkirk Council’s Employment Training Unit (ETU) eight trainees are being supported through a 26 week dry stone wall training programme based at the Kinneil Estate near Bo’ness. The Drystone Dyke Traineeship is an IFLI project. The participants are gaining a valuable qualification and practical work experience, while improving a feature of the designed landscape on the estate. Trainees are creating a number of structures to complement existing stone walls in the area, including a dry stone dyke along the side of the road used for the annual Bo’ness Hill Climb event.

Tides come in at nature reserve

 
Local primary school children enjoying some bird spotting (Image: Miranda Sawyer)

As part of their involvement with the Future Tides project, P6 pupils from Park Primary in Alloa have been out and about exploring their local nature reserve, RSPB Black Devon Wetlands.  Having had to postpone the trip twice due to stormy weather and path upgrading work, it was well worth the wait, as the sun shone brightly on the day!

The children enjoyed exploring some of the plants that grow on the site, such as the reed mace which is busy releasing its wind-dispersed fluffy seed at the moment, and learning about the animals that make the wetlands their home. The project aims to engage and enthuse children and their teachers about the local area in terms of both human and wildlife interests.

Award for Buglife will boost biodiversity in Bridgeness

If you would like to help insects like the 7-spot ladybird, get in touch (Image: Rober Trevis-Smith)

Action Earth has awarded Buglife £250 for the project Bridgeness Biodiversity in Bo’ness that encourages volunteers to get involved in improving their local area for wildlife and people. This award is run by Volunteering Matters and supported by SNH, and will help Buglife further improve the site and provide essential equipment to volunteers. It links closely with Buglife’s IFLI project at Bridgeness, and is great news for the area. If you are keen to learn new skills, improve your local environment and have fun at the same time, call Suzanne on 01786 447504 or get in touch at suzanne.burgess@buglife.org.uk

Mothing around the Forth

 
Learn how to trap and identify some of the stunning moths that can be found in the Inner Forth, like this beautiful elephant hawk moth (Image IFLI)

Would you like to learn more about the moths of the Inner Forth area, practise your id skills and contribute to nature conservation this summer?

To tie in with ongoing data recording and surveying for Butterfly Conservation’s next Moth Atlas IFLI and moth enthusiast David Bryant are looking for a small group of interested people who can commit to attending between four and seven moth mornings around the Inner Forth area and to additionally volunteer to carry out a small number of moth trapping sessions in their own gardens, allotments or other local greenspaces. This is open to all regardless of age and experience. No prior knowledge is necessary, just enthusiasm and an interest in moths!

The first session will be held on Saturday 14 May and 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; 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 difference species of moth found in a range of locations. The full range of dates can be found on the IFLI events calendar. Contact Kate Fuller with any queries kate.fuller@rspb.org.uk

What’s on!

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...

First Wednesday in every month 10am - 1pm
Bridgeness Biodiversity Day
Bridgeness

For more information and to book please contact Suzanne Burgess, suzanne.burgess@buglife.org.uk, 01786 447504 

Wed 30 March 7pm – 9pm
Tale of Two Estates Lade Project Training
Clackmannan Town Hall

More details here

Thurs 31 Mar 2.30 – 4.30pm
Come and try a survey walk – Black Devon Wetlands
Meet at the small car park on the corner of Riverside View/Forth Crescent in Alloa at 2pm

More details here

Sat 02 & Sun 03 April All day
Tale of Two Estates Lade Project Survey
Forrestmill

More details here

Wed 06 April 7pm - 8pm
Tale of Two Estates Lade Project Mapping
Clackmannan Town Hall

More details here

Fri 08 April 4pm - 6pm
Come and Try a Survey Walk - Devilla Forest
Meet at the information board in the Devilla Forestry Commision car park (accessed from the A985) at 4pm

More details here

Sat 09 April 10am - 4pm
Discover the Rocky Shore Workshop
Gellet Hall (Limekilns Parish Church)

More details here

Wed 13 April 7pm – 9pm
Tale of Two Estates Lade Project Training
Clackmannan Town Hall

More details here

Sat 16 & Sun 17 April All day
Tale of Two Estates Lade Project Survey
Gartmorn Dam

More details here

Sun 17 April 10am - 3.30pm
Wester Moss Volunteer Work Party
Fallin Bing

More details here

Wed 20 April 7pm - 8pm
Tale of Two Estates Lade Project Mapping
Clackmannan Town Hall

More details here

Thurs 21 April 1 - 2.30pm
Bumblebee Walk with Buglife
Kinneil Foreshore, Snab Lane, Bo'ness

More details here.

Sat 23 April 10am - 4pm
Bryophytes ID Workshop (Mosses and Liverworts)
Skinflats Nature Reserve

More details here

Tue 26 April 10.30am - 12.30pm
A healthy walk to Kennetpans
Kennetpans

More details here

Sun 01 May 6am
Dawn Chorus Day Fun for Families
Black Devon Wetlands

More details here

Wed 04 May 6.30pm
May the Forth Fun Run
Bo-ness Foreshore

More details here

Sat 07 May 1pm - 5pm
Introduction to Bird Watching 1 - Basic Bird ID
Stephen Memorial Hall Culross

More details here

Sun 08 May 10am - 3pm
Urban Butterfly ID Workshop
Fallin Community Enterprises, 2 Polmaise Park, Fallin

More details here

Thur 12 May 10.30am - 11.30am
Meadows and Moss - a healthy walk at Fallin Bing and Wester Moss
Fallin Bing

More details here

Sat 14 May 5am - 7am
Introduction to Bird Watching 2 - Dawn Chorus Bird Song
Gartmorn Dam Country Park and Nature Reserve

More details here

Fri 20 May - Mon 23 May9.30am - 3pm
Investigating Zetland Park
Zetland Park, Grangemouth

More details here.
Copyright © 2016 Inner Forth Landscape Initiative, All rights reserved.


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