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A bug’s eye view of volunteering

We were marching through the woods. The sun bursting through the trees, the cold air sucked into our lungs. My volunteers had entered a new area of Cumbernauld Glen; unveiled before their eyes. In this space they saw what first appeared to be a void; the last vestiges of winter still clinging onto the forest. I prompted them to take a closer look. Spring had already sprung! Snowdrops erupting through the soil with crocuses not far behind, painting a dash of colour across the woodland floor. We investigated the glare of the light and saw a goldfinch dart across. We cupped our ears upward to hear a cacophony of bullfinches, coal tits and robins singing their song. As our eyes slalomed down the trunk of the imperious Scots pine, we saw its delicate tangerine hues embellished by the light. My feet crunched the beech seed casings below my feet.  My volunteers were startled as their feet also crunched these fuzzy little casings. I told them the story of one of our previous Project Officers, who liked munching away on these

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A stroll with the snowdrops

Hope’s Flower, Eve’s Tears, the beautiful Fair Maids of February, the portentous Death Bell or maybe even just simple Dingle Dangles. Whatever you call them, snowdrops have arrived in Cumbernauld’s woods. Legend says that snowdrops were the only flower kind enough to share their colour with the newly made snow and thus became the only flower able to grow amongst it, allowing them to capture people’s hearts as the harbinger of spring.  Snowdrops aren’t native to Scotland, they probably arrived here in the 16th century, but they aren’t regarded as invasive due to their slow spreading habits and their value as an early nectar source. They are perfectly adapted to the cold, able to protect their delicate flowers and survive in the harshest conditions.  Although we may be most familiar with Galanthus nivalis, the common form of snowdrop, there are actually more than 20 species and more than 2000 cultivated varieties. ‘Galanthophiles’, those who collect the flowers, will pay big money for a new type – one single rare bulb once changed hands for £1390! This trade may be part of the reason why snowdrops are

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Hallow”scream” in the Glen

It’s that time of year when the nights draw in and the veil between worlds thins. Aos Sí or fairies from the otherworld get to visit for one night only, and this year we’re inviting them to our Halloween event at Cumbernauld Glen on Thursday 31st October. Tickets sold out incredibly fast, so congratulations if you are one of the 250 people who managed to secure a place. This is a departure from our normal weekend events, but as well as the activities and spooky stories it’s a great opportunity to see one of Cumbernauld’s best greenspaces in a new light (or very little light!). We’re usually encouraged to avoid walking through the woods at night, but the experience can be magical in the right context. Halloween is believed to be taken from Samhain, the ancient Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvesting season and the beginning of winter. A place was set at the table for the return of the souls of loved ones seeking hospitality offerings. Food and drink were put out for the Aos Sí who needed

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Responsible Wildlife Walking

Wild Ways Well went for a wander this week, taking the loop down through Cumbernauld Glen.  The incessant rain and snowmelt have transformed calm streams into rivers of fast murky water.  We watched a dipper for a while as it stood on a rock, its characteristic motion showing where it got its name.  It’ll be a long wait for the water to settle before it can properly swim and feed. It’s a hard time for wildlife right now.  Later on our walk we came across a beautiful Roe Deer grazing just a few feet away.  It watched us warily as it ate but hunger overcame fear and it tolerated our presence.  Not for long though as a pair of dogs appeared, running off the leash, and chased the deer away through the woodlands. The dogs didn’t catch the deer but that isn’t the point, the chase is damage enough.  The deer’s life right now is balanced on a knife edge, juggling calories gained by eating against those expended in the struggle to stay alive.  Being chased means it isn’t eating,