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In this issue:

Kinneil lagoons goes to the theatre (sort of!)

Kinneil Lagoon birches on the set of Snow Pals (John Johnson)

The RSPB quite often gets requests for some of the ‘waste’ products produced when they carry out habitat management at Kinneil Lagoons, such as firewood when they are felling trees  or removing old fence posts which can still be used. However they had a more unusual request just before Christmas from staff at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow.  They were looking for some long silver birch poles for part of the set for their production of Snow Pals (a lovely story of two friends who live inside a snow globe and what happens when they fall out but ultimately make up) for young children.  After all the felling carried out at Kinneil Lagoons in the autumn we had just the log pile for them and were only too happy to help.  As a result everyone who went to watch the play also got to see a small part of Kinneil Lagoons!
If you’re interested in more information about the Kinneil Lagoons-Boost the Roost project then contact Yvonne Boles, or visit the website page here

Over 250 Fife schoolchildren to help plant historic orchard trees

West Fife Woodlands volunteers get the orchard ready for the trees to be planted 
Over 250 pupils from seven different primary schools in West Fife will soon be helping to plant fruit trees for an historic new orchard that is being created by West Fife Woodlands community group in Valleyfield Woodland Park, as part of an Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) project.
Pupils from Torryburn, Saline, Inzievar, St Serfs, Tulliallan, Culross and Holy Name Primary Schools, a massive 279 in all, will be coming to the new orchard site, part of the original Valleyfield Estate kitchen garden. They will be helping West Fife Woodlands (WFW) volunteers to plant over 180 new fruit trees, some of them heritage varieties, between Monday 15 February and Wednesday 24 February.
The event is part of an IFLI project called the Valleyfield Estate Community Orchard, which WFW is leading on. Over the past 18 months, thanks to funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Fife Environment Trust and Awards for All, the group has been working at the orchard, clearing the overgrown site of scrub, planting new hedges, installing fences to keep out deer, and reseeding the area with wildflowers. The orchard is part of the Park and open to the public at all times.
It is now time to plant the fruit trees that will be the centrepiece of the project. A mix of varieties of apple, pear, cherry, plum, damson and hazelnuts will be planted, including heritage varieties. Some of the varieties to be planted may well have grown on the Estate when it was still a grand garden, designed for the Preston family by the famous landscape gardener Sir Humphry Repton in the early 19th century. This time around though, as a community orchard, the fruit won’t be the preserve of a lucky few, but will be free for anyone in the community to pick when they visit the woods, which are now owned by Fife Council.
A record will be kept of the names of the pupils and schools who planted the trees, so that when they revisit the site in the future they will be able to point out their trees. Besides planting the trees, the children will be given a special guided snowdrop tour of the woodlands, which will be in full bloom, and will join in some fun woodland themed activities with education staff from IFLI.

IFLI community networking evenings

Are you involved with a local community group or school in the Bo’ness, Alloa or Fallin area?
Would you like to learn more about some of the projects that are going on near you to look after your local landscape, and perhaps find out how to get involved?
Would you like to meet up with people from other community groups and organisations who are also working to protect and celebrate your local heritage?
If so, the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative and friends would like to invite you to join us at a free networking evening for your local community, where you will be able find out more, exchange ideas, and enjoy the company of other people who are also involved in working with your community. Light refreshments will be served.
Through our projects we have already run a range of fun and engaging events and learning activities, worked with local groups and schools, and been joined by fantastic volunteers. Now, as we approach our third year, we are looking for new ways to work together with communities  to achieve our shared aims, and to tell people about some of IFLI’s plans and achievements in your local area. Find out more at a Community Networking Evening.
The meetings will be held at Bo’ness on 22 February, Fallin on 1 March, and Alloa on 8 March, all starting at 7.30pm. Booking is essential. Click on the links to find more and reserve your place. You can also give us a call on 01324 831568 or email if you have any queries.

Memories of Mining goes digital!

The famous handshake! Miners meet in the middle of the Valleyfield to Kinneil tunnel in 1964. Copyright unknown. Please contact us if you have any information on this.

While the subject of the Memories of Mining project remains the same - people’s memories of life and work in former mining communities around the Inner Forth - the scope of this IFLI project has been extended to include the production of a number of ‘Digital Stories’. These will be created with the help of Emily Dodd, a writer and storyteller whose experience ranges from screenwriting for CBeebies to working with community groups on local history projects.

Digital Stories are essentially short films that combine images and voiceovers to tell personal stories. Some examples from the recent project undertaken by the Govan Reminiscence Group can be viewed online here.

We’re going to be working both with older people with personal experience of life in a mining community, and with pupils from Bo’ness Public School and St Serf’s Primary in High Valleyfield. As part of their respective projects on the history of coal mining within their own communities, we will produce a number of Digital Stories and other interactive media on topics that range from strikes to social life, and from the famous Kinneil-Valleyfield link-up tunnel under the Forth to the life of pit ponies and canaries.

The results of everyone’s hard work will be available on the IFLI website in due course. If you have any old photographs that you think might help us tell a good story, please get in touch with Kirsty on or 01324 831568.

New paths will bring people closer to wildlife

SWT Cambus Pools. Robert Trevis-Smith
Work has just started on two new access improvement projects in Clackmannanshire, which will help people get closer to the wildlife and wild places on their doorstep.  Local people and visitors to Cambus and Black Devon Wetlands are set to benefit from an investment of £116,000 through IFLI to improve path network links. The projects are a partnership between Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGNT), Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) and Clackmannanshire Council, and are both due for completion in the spring.
The Cambus Whisky & Wetland Wander project will upgrade the existing path network around Cambus which links the eclectic mix of wild and industrial landscape and connects local people to the Forth estuary.  The scheme will create over a kilometre of new paths, as well as new linking sections created where required.  New seating and signage will also be installed.  
The second project – Walk to the Wetlands - will take advantage of the fantastic wildlife resource on the doorstep of local people in the area around Black Devon Wetlands between Alloa and Clackmannan.  The work aims to provide a comprehensive path network to access the Inner Forth landscape, and will also link with the new RSPB Black Devon Wetlands Nature Reserve.  A kilometre of new paths are being installed, and a further 500 metres will be upgraded.  Signage and waymarking will help people discover the new routes.

Help us make wildlife count

Wildlife surveying  can make a real difference for nature. Paul Barclay

Forth Nature Counts aims to increase the level of wildlife recording within the Inner Forth landscape and generate as many verified records as possible, ensuring that they end up in the public domain to aid nature conservation throughout the Inner Forth.

Thanks to our friends at Buglife Scotland, the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative is now on iRecord. If you have any nature records that you have made in the local area (and you aren’t already submitting them to the National Biodiversity Network( NBN) via other means) then it would be great if you would give Inner Forth form a go and share it with anyone else who might be interested!
Enter your records via the Inner Forth Nature Counts upload form
Come and try nature recording for yourself!

The Inner Forth is a special place for nature, and to help us celebrate and monitor this we have designed a series of survey walks to record the species found across the IFLI project area. We are running a series of ‘Come & Try’ events to introduce people to these walks, including our newest survey location at Devilla Forest. We’ll walk the route and look out for a wide array of wildlife to record, so whether you’re a novice, an expert, a specialist or a generalist there will be opportunities to learn new ID skills and share existing knowledge.
You’ll learn why wildlife recording is important, some basic survey techniques and how to make a good wildlife record. We will also explain how to share your records via the Inner Forth Nature Counts form on iRecord. Your records will make their way to the National Biodiversity Network / Atlas Of Living Scotland. This will help the IFLI partnership and external conservation bodies build a better picture of biodiversity throughout the landscape.
We are ultimately looking for volunteers who can commit to walking a survey route approximately four times over the course of a year, but a Come & Try session is a good chance to try it out and see if you might be interested. You don’t need any previous experience of wildlife recording, just some basic species ID skills. We have more info about the Nature Recording volunteering opportunity here.
Come & Try dates are as follows. Click the links for full details.
Friday 4th March, 1.30pm – Valleyfield Woods, Fife
Thursay 31st March, 2pm – Black Devon Wetlands, Alloa
Friday 8th April, 4pm – Devilla Forest, nr Kincardine
No booking is required but if you would like to register your interest please contact us on 01324 831568 or .
If you are interested in Nature Recording but cannot attend these dates then we would still love to hear from you.

ID workshops announced for 2016

In 2015 we ran 16 free wildlife ID workshops for 144 attendees, covering wading birds, fungi, wildflowers, invertebrates and trees. The evaluation forms we collected showed that people thought the sessions were enjoyable, highly informative, and attendees were keen for more. We were also given some great ideas for ways to make our events even better.
So over the winter we’ve been busy putting together a range of wildlife ID and survey skills workshops for 2016. We are revisiting some of the popular subjects from last year as well as exploring some brand new topics, for instance a badger course, and a crack-of-dawn chorus event which is sure to be a memorable one.
As ever, all Forth Nature Counts workshops are free, but spaces are limited so please get in touch to make reservations.  Contact Kate Fuller, IFLI Community Engagement Officer or Adam Ross, IFLI Wildlife Recording Assistant on 01324 831568 or . Full event details can be found on our Forth Nature Counts page and our events calendar

Conservation volunteers going from strength to strength 

Conservation volunteers clearing brash at Kinneil Lagoons. Ami Woodford

Two years into the Conservation Volunteering Around the Forth project and we are victims of our own success!  With nearly 30 volunteers now registered to the project and attendance regularly in double figures for work parties demand is currently out stripping supply.  The reason for this?  In the past year, volunteers have gained qualifications in emergency first aid and brushcutting skills, as well as gaining experience in fencing, scrub control and the control of invasive species, not mention excursions to other RSPB reserves like RSPB Loch Lomond and RSPB Fidra (a change of scenery is always nice) and many, many bonfires with marshmallows (always fun).
Of course, all of this isn’t just of benefit to the volunteers.  With their help we have been able to carry out far more work across the Inner Forth than we would have otherwise.  Sometimes it is nice to be in demand. As we are currently oversubscribed for this project we are not recruiting any volunteers at the moment but you can still register your interest with us by contacting RSPB Forth and Loch Lomond Reserves Warden Allison Leonard on 01324 832853 or email

Stop press! Cambuskenneth orchard planting tomorrow!

Cambuskenneth Community Council are working with Central Scotland Green Network Trust to plant a new community orchard for the village, as part of the Fruitful Landscape project. They will be planting six trees in the play park area of the village on Saturday 6 February. If you’d like to get involved they are meeting at 10:30am at the entrance to the park on South Street. All equipment will be provided and no previous experience needed, just warm clothing and sensible shoes!

What’s on!

Last chance!

Sat 6 February, 10am - 3pm
Introducing RSPB Black Devon Wetlands

Wetland Adventure Walks at 11am and 2pm

Drop in to RSPB Black Devon Wetlands to learn about the RSPB's newest nature reserve. Over the next few years as part of the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative, RSPB Scotland will be working to improve the wetlands for wildlife and make them more accessible for people. Pop down to the marquee on the reserve to learn more about the special wildlife of Black Devon Wetlands, hear about the habitat improvements they will make and perhaps put on your wellies and join in one of the wetland adventures to see firsthand what the RSPB and IFLI are trying to achieve. More details here.

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...

Thurs 11 Feb, 10am - 1pm
Bridgeness Biodiversity Day
Bridgeness Shipbreakers Yard, Bo'ness
Details here.
Thurs 11 Feb, 8.45am - 2.45pm
Winter Tree ID workshop
Gartmorn Dam Country Park and Nature Reserve
More details here.
Fri 12 Feb, 10am - 4pm
How to plan and give your orchard a brush-up
Settle Inn, Stirling
More details here.

Weds 17 Feb, 7 - 9pm
Mapping your heritage with GIS
Clackmannan Town Hall

More details here.

Sun 21 Feb, 10am - 4pm
Painting the Forth art workshop with Darren Woodhead
Cambuskenneth Village Hall

More details here.

Sun 21 Feb, 10am - 4pm
How to plan for and give your orchard a brush-up
CLEAR, Buckhaven

More details here.

Mon 22 Feb, 7.30-9pm
IFLI Bo'ness Community Networking Evening
Bo'ness Town Hall

More details here.

Thurs 25 Feb, 7 - 8.30pm
IFLI talk to Tullibody History Group
Tullibody Community Centre

More details here.

Tues 1 Mar, 7.30-9pm
IFLI Fallin Community Networking Evening
Fallin Miners Welfare

More details here.

Fri 4 Mar, 10am - 4pm
Grafting - the Scientific Way
Knockcraich Farm, Fintry

More details here.

Fri 4 Mar, 1.30 - 4pm
Come and try a survey walk - Valleyfield Woods
Valleyfield Woods

More details here.

Sat 5 Mar, 10am - 4pm
Badgers for Beginners Workshop
Blackness Castle (Sailing club car park)

More details here.

Tues 8 Mar, 7.30-9pm
IFLI Alloa Community Networking Evening
Bowmar Community Centre, Alloa

More details here.

Wed 9 Mar, 1.30-2.15pm
A healthy walk to Kennetpans
Kennetpans, nr Alloa

More details here.

Fri 11 Mar, 10.30am - 12.30pm
A guided tour of Kennetpans (rescheduled)
Kennetpans, nr Alloa

More details here.

Weds 16 Mar, 7 - 9pm
Mapping your heritage with GIS
Clackmannan Town Hall

More details here.

Sat 19 Mar, 10am - 4pm
Guided Badger Survey
Details tbc

More details here.

Wed 23 Mar, 10am - 4pm
Guided Badger Survey
Details tbc

More details here.
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