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Welcome to IFLI's April 2017 E-newsletter

In this issue:

First steps in Grangemouth restorations

The first weekend in May will see a range of community events taking place at Zetland Park in Grangemouth, centered around the digital reconstruction of the historic town clock tower.

The clock tower was disassembled after the old Town Chambers was destroyed in a fire, and has since been kept in storage. To enhance its chances of being rebuilt, IFLI will be working with AOC Archaeology, Falkirk Council and a number of community groups (including EARL, Friends of Zetland Park and Grangemouth Heritage Trust). We'll be bringing the pieces of the clock to Zetland Park over the weekend of 6 and 7 May to allow them to be digitally scanned, photographed and archived. This will then go to creating a 3D model of how the tower should be reconstructed. This will form an important part of a future bid to secure funding for the wider regeneration of the Park itself, and will give volunteers a chance to be part of an exciting and unique project, as well as gaining a variety of hands-on experiences in photography, restoration and digital cataloguing.

All the spaces for volunteers on the day are now fully booked, but everyone is very welcome to come down to the park and find out more about the restoration. 

And that's not all - between 11:00am and 3:00pm on Sunday 7th May the Friends of Zetland Park will host a community networking event. Come along to find out more about what's going on in your local area; there will be lots of fun activities at the stalls as well as face-painting and wildlife ID walks. 

For more information please contact IFLI's Kirsty McAlister on 01324 831568 or


Trainee project comes to a close

Landscape Management Trainees working at Polmont Woods  Photo: Ali Lawson/TCV

As we enter the fourth and final year of the IFLI programme, another of our projects is coming to a close. Between January and March, the tenth and final group of Landscape Management Trainees have been working on sites around the Inner Forth supervised by Ali Lawson from TCV. In the past few weeks the group have been out at Kinneil Foreshore removing sea buckthorn, a task that other groups of trainees had also been involved in. Removal of this plant from the island at Kinneil Foreshore has been focused on the path edges to improve access, and around native trees to give them a better chance of survival.

Trainees spent time at Balgownie Woods and Devilla Forest in Fife, finishing up path work and working closely with Forest Commission Rangers to help make improvements to the forest. At Devilla they undertook a lot of woodland management and some access work building steps and cutting back vegetation.

Up in Stirling the trainees were working at Wester Moss, creating an entrance for machinery to access the bog to do some restoration work. This involved felling trees and building a ramp. Back in Falkirk, the trainees built raised beds. They have also had a huge part in creating a new woodworking shed clad with pallet wood. Windows have been put in and work benches built, many to the trainees' own designs.

The woodworking shed built by the trainees.


Family Fun at RSPB Black Devon Wetlands

With the viewing structure finished and the new paths down, the RSPB are hosting a day of family fun at Black Devon Wetlands near Alloa to introduce everyone to the new site.

The event, which is totally free, takes place on Saturday 22 April, and will feature treasure hunts, bug hunts and building your own bug hotels, a story-telling workshop, and a chance to explore the site and find out why it is so important to wildlife. 

There is no need to book, just come down to the Reserve at any time between 10am and 3pm.

You can find out more information about the site and how to get there here.


Buglife's Bridgeness work continues

Buglife volunteers remove scrub at Bridgeness Ship Breakers  
Photo: Suzanne Burgess/Buglife Scotland

Buglife Scotland and their volunteers have been working at Bridgeness Ship Breakers near Bo'ness for some time now, managing the brownfield site and wildflower meadow for wildlife. Their work here, which ensures the ship breakers yard remains an important site for wildlife on the Inner Forth, is now being supported thanks to Volunteering Matters Action Earth, a campaign supported by Scottish Natural Heritage which will be awarding grants of up to £500 to volunteering projects across Scotland.

Buglife Scotland are also pleased to announce they have received a further donation from Bo'ness and Linlithgow Rotary Club, which will allow them to purchase tools for the volunteering project. Both of these awards are hugely important in ensuring the site remains maintained and accessible to local people, as well as a fantastic habitat for wildlife.

Suzanne Burgess, Buglife Scotland manager, who is co-ordinating the Bridgeness Biodiversity and Grangepans Meadow project, said: "everyone can get involved in their local outdoor spaces. They are a shared resource and a shared responsibility. From the smallest individual action to a national campaign, every contribution helps!"

If you'd like to help Buglife continue their work here they are always happy to welcome new volunteers - the Bridgeness Biodiversity group meets the first Wednesday of every month, from 10am - 1pm. Work includes creating species-rich grassland, clearing scrub, removing litter and recording bumblebees, hoverflies and other pollinating insects. 

For more information contact Suzanne on 01786 447504 or


Conservation Volunteering Around The Forth

Buglife Scotland aren't the only organisation who offer great opportunities for anyone looking to do some conservation volunteering work. The RSPB also run regular volunteering events around the Inner Forth, as they work to preserve and enhance to habitats which make this area such a fantastic place for birds.

Working across several sites in the Inner Forth, including the saline pools at RSPB Skinflats and the new Wetlands site at Black Devon in Alloa, there will be opportunities to learn new practical and identification skills and gain a range of experience (invaluable for anyone who wants to pursue a career in conservation). They will also be offering their volunteers the opportunity for more formal training (eg brushcutter). If that's not enough, you will of course get the chance to work some fantastic people and maybe meet some new friends, all while doing your bit for the special wildlife found across the Inner Forth.

For more information contact Allison Leonard on

More volunteering opportunities with our partner organisations are coming up all the time, so keep an eye on our facebook and twitter, as well as future editions of this newsletter to see what is available.


Target Species for April

As we head into spring, with longer evenings and brighter mornings, sites around the Inner Forth are even more inviting for a stroll or a cycle. Why not head outside and keep an eye out for our target species for April? This month we're looking for the 10-spot ladybird, coltsfoot and adders! Some may be easier to find than others, but beware the bite of our forked-tongue friend...

Whatever you do see, you can help us build a better picture of wildlife in the landscape by adding your nature records from the Inner Forth area and beyond to iRecord. This can be done online or via the iRecord app. Check out for more information. Happy recording!


New faces at Skinflats

The past few weeks have seen a number of new faces join the IFLI team at the RSPB Skinflats Office.

Tom Churchyard is taking on the role of Project Manager, which involves overseeing the fourth and final delivery year of the 50 projects which form the Initiative, as well as ensuring the ongoing legacy of the programme.

Tom has recently been leading another major project for the RSPB based in the Shiant Islands in the Outer Hebrides, which has worked towards removing invasive black rats from the site in order to protect the seabird habitats there.

Tom said of his new role: "what excites me most about this project and the area is that the people and nature are so intertwined; it is a real working, industrial landscape, and an important one to work with."

Tom takes the place of Alex Page, our former project manager, who is now working to establish another exciting landscape partnership based in the Garnock Valley.

We also welcomed our new Wildlife Recording Assistant Lizzy Cairns to the IFLI team, a role which is supported by the Training Tomorrow's Talent project. Lizzy will be involved in supporting the Forth Nature Counts project through our programme of ID workshops and survey walks, and helping to establish the legacy of the Initiative by giving people the resources to help people in the area to continue identifying and recording wildlife for many years to come. Lizzy has previously worked as a volunteer at RSPB Bempton Cliffs Reserve and with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Ahead of starting her new role Lizzy said: "I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to learn from my colleagues, volunteers and fellow wildlife recorders in the area through this traineeship role, and am hoping to develop my knowledge in botany, invertebrates and, of course, the wading and over-wintering birds that are so intrinsic to the area. There is a lot to learn, but I am excited to meet the challenges of this role while exploring the spellbinding and fascinating landscape that is the Inner Forth".

Also working at Skinflats through the Training Tomorrow's Talent programme is Ami Kirkbright, who has joined the RSPB as the new Inner Forth Futurescapes Project Assistant.

After graduating from SRUC Ami worked at RSPB Loch Lomond as both a residential volunteer and assistant warden, doing habitat management tasks, working with volunteers and doing biological surveys of the site.

Ami said: "I'm extremely excited about my new role as Futurescapes Assistant for the RSPB, and being able to work in such a diverse place on an incredibly varied project. I'm keen to get talking to people about the wonderful work at RSPB Black Devon Wetlands, learning about and putting into practice the different habitat creation techniques around the Inner Forth and generally inspiring people to get our and see what's on their local patch."

What's on around the Inner Forth

Conservation Volunteering around the Forth
Skinflats Nature Reserve
Friday 14th April
10:00am - 3:00pm

Join the RSPB for practical conservation experience at their sites around the Forth. Takes place the second Friday and last Saturday of each month. More info.

Black Devon Wetlands Family Fun Day
Black Devon Wetlands, Alloa
Saturday 22nd April
10:00am - 3:00pm

Join the RSPB at their new Nature Reserve for a day of exciting family activities. More info.

Introduction to Bird ID 1 - Garden & Woodland Birds
Sauchie Hall
Sunday 23rd April
10:00am - 3:00pm

The RSPB's David Anderson will be leading this workshop introducing you to common UK garden and woodland birds. More info

Kinneil House Open Day
Kinneil Estate
Sunday 23rd April

10:00am - 4:00pm

Friends of Kinneil continue their popular programme of tours of the historic Kinneil House. More info.

TWIC Spring Conference 2017
Saturday 29th April
All day

The theme of the 2017 TWIC Conference is 'farmland biodiversity' - what species can be found on farmland, and how to manage it. More info.

Bryophytes ID Workshop (Mosses & Liverworts)
Sauchie Hall
Saturday 29th April
10:00am - 4:00pm

An introduction to mosses and liverworts with Rory Whytock. Learn about bryophyte ecology and pick up ID skills. More info.

Bridgeness Biodiversity Volunteer Event
Bridgeness Ship Breakers
Wednesday 3rd May

10:00am - 1:00pm

Buglife Scotland continue their ongoing work to maintain this important wildlife site in Bo'ness. Volunteer work parties are held on the first Wednesday over every month. More info.

Digitally Reconstructing Grangemouth's Historic Town Clock Tower
Zetland Park
Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th May
9:30am - 4:30pm

IFLI will be working with AOC Archaeology, Falkirk Council and a number of community groups and volunteers to digitally reconstruct Grangemouth's old Town Clock Tower. More info.

Introduction to Bird ID 2 - Dawn Chorus
Gartmorn Dam Country Park & Nature Reserve
Saturday 6th May
5:00am - 8:00am

Reap the rewards of an early rise and hear the dawn chorus of birds in its full glory. More info.

Guided Cycle with Stirling Cycle Hub
Saturday 13th May

Stirling Cycle Hub will be leading this free guided cycle along the Fife Coastal Path, from Culross and to Limekilns and back again. More info.

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