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Photo from the Falkirk Wildlife Conservation Group. Learn more about the group below.

Welcome to IFLI's October 2016 eNewsletter


In this issue:

Inner Forth Photography Competition 2016

After the success of last year's event, IFLI has launched its second photography competition. Like last year it's all about recording and celebrating what the Inner Forth has to offer, but this year we've decided to focus the theme on the architecture and built heritage of the landscape, to tie in with the 2016 Year of Architecture, Design and Innovation.

Older, disused or repurposed facilities, up and down the river, with a story to tell - such as the Charlestown Limekilns, the Kennetpans Distillery, Blackness Castle or the Dunmore Pineapple - may seem at odds with modern industrial sites like the Alloa Glassworks or the Clackmannan Bridge, but each has played a role in transforming and influencing the way the Inner Forth, and its inhabitants, develop and function.

We are looking for photos that capture a piece of architecture or design from within the IFLI boundary that impresses you, especially if the image also highlights that structure's interaction with nature, wildlife or the environment. 

The final date for entries is midnight on the 28th October.

The competition is open to amateur photographers of any age, and you don't have to live in the area to take part.

Full information and all rules and regulations can be found here, along with some successful examples from last year.



Dragonflies at Wester Moss

Wester Moss, in Fallin near Stirling, is an area of lowland raised bog managed by Butterfly Conservation Scotland (BCS), and thanks to their work is already an established site for the rare and declining large heath butterfly. But recently new species are being found that prove the bog to be even more of a fantastic habitat than previously thought.

In early September BCS was able to confirm sightings of colourful species of dragonfly, such as common hawker, common darter, black darter, emerald damelfly and blue-tailed damselfly. 

Their emergence follows the completion of peatland restoration work carried out to protect the large heath, and to stop the land at Wester Moss from drying up. You can read more about the work undertaken so far here. Take a look below at some pictures of the new arrivals:

Large heath butterfly

Common hawker

Emerald damselflies
All pictures from Butterfly Conservation Scotland

Aside from providing a rarely found habitat in this area, the bog at Wester Moss also has environmental benefits to the surrounding area, helping with carbon storage and flood prevention. 

Volunteering with the Falkirk Wildlife Conservation Group

Are you interested to learn more about the wildlife living in Falkirk? If so, why not consider volunteering with the Falkirk Wildlife Conservation Group? They meet on the last Wednesday of every month in Grangemouth, and do regular practical work to help protect local wildlife, including providing and maintaining nests, and ringing owls. For more information about the group visit their facebook page.

Painting The Forth exhibition extended

If you haven't been able to make it to the Smith Gallery and Museum in Stirling to see 'Painting The Forth', the exhibition of IFLI artist-in-residence Darren Woodhead's work, do not worry - it has been extended until the 28th October.

Painting The Forth is the culmination of Darren's time spent over the last year painting all around the Inner Forth. He paints exclusively in watercolour, and emphasizes the role his direct environment plays in shaping how each work turns out, so there are unlikely to be many better artistic representations of the landscape.

The exhibition is free to attend. The Smith's opening hours are: 
Tues – Sat 10.30am to 5.00pm;
Sunday 2.00pm to 5.00pm;
Closed Mondays


Memories of Mining In Valleyfield and Bo'ness

Miners from Kinneil and Valleyfield shake hands under the Forth as both sides of the new coal tunnel meet in the middle

Memories of Mining is an on-going IFLI project aimed at investigating and preserving the heritage of the coal mining communities on the Inner Forth. Like many areas of Scotland, mining was a significant industry in the growth and history of the landscape, with dozens of pits opening and closing up and down the River over the past centuries. The final pit, at Longannet, closed as recently as 2002 after a flood.

In October and November there will be two exhibitions held as part of our project, at Valleyfield and at Bo'ness. Both will look at the links made between the two communities via both the coal tunnel which was opened in 1964 underneath the River itself, as well as the work Forth Valley Orchards have been doing to restore and maintain community orchards in both towns. The Valleyfield event will also be looking at the 1939 Pit Disaster in the town, and takes place on the 77th anniversary of the accident, which killed 35 workers.

On our Youtube channel you can see the short films made by Primary School pupils from Valleyfield and Bo'ness about the subject, another part of the Memories of Mining project.


Looking back over the Inner Forth Festival

As September ends, so does the sensational second Inner Forth Festival. Over the month hundreds of people came to over 30 events all around the area to help us celebrate this fantastic landscape. 

Fifteen different organisations worked with us to make the festival possible, offering their expertise and skills to a huge range of events from boat trips to bioblitzes, from cycles to conferences, and from plays to photography workshops. Below we've got together a small selection of photos from some of the events to give you a taste of what was on offer.

The Maid of the Forth, docked at South Queensferry, ready for the event that kickstarted the Festival: The Forth From A New Perspective. We were joined on board by guests and volunteers, as well as speakers from organisations like Falkirk Community Trust, Buglife, RSPB and several local authorities to learn about the projects IFLI are running up and down the shores of the Forth.

The trip started off by passing under two of the (almost) three Forth Crossings, then went along the southern shore past Blackness and Kinneil, under the Kincardine Bridge and back down the northern edge. We also had Mark Kirkham, aka The Edinburgh Sketcher, onboard to take sketching and watercolour workshops.

We were also at Historic Environment Scotland's fantastic Siege on the Forth event at Blackness Castle on 3-4 September, which attracted nearly 2,000 people with battle re-enactments and wildlife activities.

Later that week we held a Heritage Walk in Culross. There are few better places in the Inner Forth than Culross for an event like this, as the Fife village remains remarkably similar to how it was build several hundred years ago.

Just after this we worked with Braveheart on another of their healthy walks, this time around Cambus Pools Nature Reserve, which is managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. IFLI is working with SWT on a project to improve the wetlands for wildlife. We really enjoyed walking to the Reserve along the new path, which was created by Central Scotland Green Network Trust as part of an IFLI project to improve path access.

During September we also hosted more of our year-round ID workshops. There was a bryophytes workshop at Wester Moss, and later, at Skinflats another in our series of Mothing Around the Forth events. There were workshops on fungi, bats and estuary birds as well.

On the 14th there was an all-day conference called 'Defeating the Invaders' in Stirling. It discussed the issues of non-native invasive species and how to go about tackling them, bringing together people from all kinds of organisations and volunteers in the public, private and third sectors, and was a great opportunity to share ideas and learn.

All the talks and presentations from the day, as well as case studies from a variety of organisations, can be found on our website

In the past we've hosted birding cycling events, but this time we got on our bikes to explore some of the significant historical locations along the shores of the Forth. Starting at Stirling Cycle Hub, the History By Bike event took in Alloa and Clackmannan Towers before ending at Kennetpans Distillery.

As part of Marine Conservation Society's Great British Beach Clean national weekend, we organised a beach cleaning event at Limekilns. There was a fantastic turnout, with over 30 people helping to clear the beach of over 1000 pieces of litter and waste. What was found was also catalogued and the data sent to MCS to help them work to stop waste going into the water system at source.

And to round off the month there were two performances of a specially-written play Smugglers, Spies and Stolen Plums Pies, all about Alloa's past life as a busy port town. Based on original historical research by IFLI volunteer Ian Middleton, it was put on by The Walking Theatre Company with help from pupils from Alloa Academy - where the play was performed.


Last but not least: a massive thank you to everyone who was involved in putting an event together, or who took the time to attend.

IFLI run events all year round, each aimed at promoting the natural, cultural and built heritage of the Inner Forth landscape. You can see what's on currently by visiting our Events Calendar, or having at look what's coming up in the next few weeks at the end of this newsletter. All of our events are free to attend thanks to the way we are funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

What's on

An overview of what's coming up around the Inner Forth over the next few weeks. 

Booking/contact information for each event can be found in the links provided.

Crocus Bulb Planting
Tuesday 25th October
10:00am - 12:00pm

Join Carriden Community Volunteer Group and Buglife to help plant a crocus patch, and improve the biodiversity of the area. More info.

Valleyfield Mining Exhibition
Valleyfield Community Centre
Friday 28th October
1:00pm - 7:00pm

An exhibition looking at the 1939 Valleyfield pit disaster, and the historic and modern links between the mining communities here and in Bo'ness. More info.

BRISC Conference and AGM 
Linlithgow Burgh Halls
Saturday 29th October
9:30am - 4:30pm

This conference takes a look at local nature conservation and biological recording. More info.

Kinneil House Open Day
Kinneil Estate
Sunday 30th October
1:00pm - 4:00pm

Join Friends of Kinneil for another - and the last of 2016 - of their popular open day and tours of Kinneil House. More info.

Bed and Breakfast for Birds
Gartmorn Dam Country Park and Nature Reserve
Sunday 30th October
11:00am - 1:00pm

Learn how to make bird feeders and improve your garden for birds surviving the winter. More info.

Bridgeness Biodiversity
Bridgeness Shipbreakers
Wednesday 2nd November
10:00am - 1:00pm

Join Buglife at Bridgeness Ship Breakers in Bo'ness to learn about the importance of this site for wildlife. More info.

Wester Moss Volunteer Work Party
Wester Moss, Fallin
Sunday 6th November
10:00am - 3:00pm

Join Butterfly Conservation to continue important work on the Wester Moss peat bog. More info.

Bo'ness Mining Exhibition
Venue TBC
Tuesday 8th November

Explore the historic and modern links between the mining communities of Valleyfield and Bo'ness. More info.

Forth Naturalist and Historian Conference
University of Stirling
Saturday 12th November
9:30am - 4:30pm

The 39th annual conference of the Forth Naturalist and Historian society, which this year has the theme of built landscapes and gardens. More info.

Wild In The Woods
Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre, Grangemouth
Tuesday 17th November
4:30pm - 6:30pm

A fun-filled family evening where you get the chance to practice bushcrafting skills and learn about the local wildlife. More info

Wildlife Information Centre - Autumn Conference and AGM
Bo'ness Town Hall
Saturday 26th November
10:30am - 4:30pm

A day of talks highlighting local marine recording schemes and citizen science projects. More info


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