Buff-tailed bumblebee on knapweed at St Maurice’s Pond By Teri Grieve, Cumbernauld Living Landscape Trainee Spring is coming! The bitterness of winter appears to have…
Over the past two and a half years we have worked with local schools and communities to improve three important wildlife sites in the Cumbernauld Living Landscape. The improvements to the sites were driven by the towns young people from local high schools who also inspired local residents to volunteer their time to improve the areas for people and wildlife. This project utilised Scottish Wildlife Trust and North Lanarkshire Council sites and was only be achieved by the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. It has giving young people the opportunity and skills to improve their environment, their confidence and their employability skills. The project ended in September 2017 with a celebration of the work completed by the young people, local volunteers, local and partner organisations all working together with Cumbernauld Living Landscape for the town’s greenspaces by connecting local communities to the environment.
Students from the high schools across Cumbernauld have been taking action to improve their environment. To celebrate their work with the Natural Connection project they have created three distinctive artworks. Over 300 young people were involved and the pupil led group has created the design brief and steered the creation of the art work.
The success of this project has been recognised by winning the 2017 Nature of Scotland Youth and Education Award.
Come and delve into our interactive map and find out about how Cumbernauld’s young people are connecting with nature and their community.
The evaluation of the project was completed in October 2017 and showed the following were our biggest impacts:
- An improvement in the confidence and employability of the young people involved, leading to more positive destinations.
- The activities of the young people on the sites inspiring our community to take action, resulting in two new volunteer groups – one for practical volunteers and another for 7–12-year-olds.
- An increase in our knowledge and understanding of the natural heritage and the community use of the sites. There is now a greater focus on active management and community participation.
Although known for its grey urban landscape, an amazing 50% of Cumbernauld is greenspace, making it one of the greenest towns’ in Scotland. As well as providing a haven for wildlife, these greenspaces are great places for people to enjoy. The project is working on three of the towns wildlife sites all of which neighbour Cumbernauld’s high schools.
Each of the three sites now have Community Action Plans in place where the community describes what they would like to achieve in an area, detailing the time and resources each activity will require. These Community Actions Plans are designed to be a framework for implementing tasks and activities which are decided and acted upon by the community of Cumbernauld. You can find the action plans in each of the site sections below.
Owned and managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Cumbernauld Glen is a stunning semi-natural ancient woodland awash with carpets of bluebells in the spring, but don’t think that spring holds all the cards. This wildlife reserve is a pleasure to stroll through at any time of year. With 14km of pathways you can lose yourself for hours watching wildlife such as roe deer, woodpeckers and sparrowhawk, if you are very lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the iconic Scottish pine marten. Once the playground for lords, kings and queens, Cumbernauld Glen is the place for the community to re-connect with nature. The project is working with local schools Abronhill Primary School and Cumbernauld Academy to improve the areas adjacent to the schools.
Ravenswood Local Nature Reserve has been transformed by North Lanarkshire Council into an incredible asset for the community and for wildlife. Follow the path through the wildlife garden and you will see before you an open vista of marsh meadow. Abuzz with a huge variety of insects this is the place to bee in summer! The lovely butterfly meadow, Rabbit Hill and coot pond offer a variety of habitats rich in wildlife. Take a walk through Pollokshole Wood on a warm summer day to enjoy the cooler micro climate, enjoying the sunshine dappling through the leaves.
Working with Greenfaulds High School and Our Lady’s High School the project is improving the meadows and paths all around the site. Local primary schools and Ravenswood Marsh Community Group are getting involved.
North Lanarkshire Council’s best kept secret… until now! Feast your eyes on a wonderful wetland with surrounding meadows and woodland. Follow the path as it loops around the pond, taking the high path to the woodland and out onto the boardwalk over the marsh, spot dragonflies and damselflies aplenty and keep an eye out for tufted ducks and goosanders among the swans and mallards. Once the site of an old farm that supplied flax to the nearby weavers village of Condorrat, let the site weave its magical spell on you and leave you wanting to come back for another visit.
The site is now being used by the pupils from St Maurice’s High School who are working to improve it for other young people. This work has been supported by an additional grant from the Tesco Bags of Help fund.
The connections, relationships and knowledge that we have built over this two and a half year project have been develpoed into our new Creating natural Connections project. With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund we are now preparing a submision for a 4 year project that will reach more people and have a bigger impact on the town’s greennetwork.