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No Planet B

“Climate action now!” “I’m only wee, leave some Earth for me” “There is no Planet B” On Friday 20th September the Cumbernauld Living Landscape team were proud to join the thousands of children and adults who marched to Glasgow’s George Square as part of the global Climate Strike. It might seem odd to join a climate strike when you work for an environmental organisation, but we knew that we had to add our voices to those of the young people who are leading this inspiring movement. Started by 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, in the past year there have been hundreds of school climate strikes across the globe. The world’s youth are demanding that decision-makers take bolder steps towards tackling the climate crisis and ending the catastrophic biodiversity loss that the world is currently facing. Greta may be the face of the movement but there are countless others taking action alongside her, including here in Scotland. Greta may be the face of the movement but there are countless others taking action alongside her, including here in Scotland. The Natural Connections

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Cumbernauld Conversations

Cumbernauld Living Landscape is coming to a venue near you! We are coming out into communities to talk to you about your local greenspaces. We want to find the community champions: the people who are looking after these places in unforeseen ways. They could be members of the public doing a weekly litter-pick down the park, they could be an informal club that uses the greenspace for an exercise class or they could be a retired teacher who tells amazing stories about the fascinating heritage of our breathtaking nature reserves. Since starting in this position a month ago I have had the privilege to meet so many amazing individuals and community groups working tirelessly to connect the people in their communities with the natural world at their disposal. At the Living Landscape one of our main goals is to “unlock” this community capacity to create even more connections with nature, using Cumbernauld’s greenspaces as the connector. So how are we going to do this? Well to start, over the next few weeks we’ll be popping up in and around places

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Celebrating Cumbernauld’s future

The sun was shining, the bees were buzzing and the town was buzzing too as Cumbernauld prepared for Friday’s visit from the Queen. She spent her time at Greenfaulds High School, where she met with pupils and community members while being treated to a performance from the North Lanarkshire Council School’s Pipe Band. Greenfaulds is just one of the schools we’re working with as part of our mission to connect more young people in Cumbernauld with the nature on their doorstep. Our 6-month Natural Connections programme supports pupils as they make improvements to their local greenspaces, learning new skills and building confidence along the way. The royal event was called ‘a celebration of Cumbernauld’s past and future’. Cumbernauld has been through a lot of changes during the Queen’s time. Designated a New Town only two years into her reign, we’ve seen our greenspaces shrink and become fewer and farther between. There are fewer homes for wildlife, and we seem to be spending less and less time outdoors. But with the help of our partners, our volunteers and programme participants we’re

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Getting arty this Autumn

What’s in a name? Until quite recently few people had any use for season names except for winter and summer. There were a few changes before we settled on a name, what is now autumn was once called hairst (harvest) or fall. Whatever you call it autumn is a great time to get arty outdoors. Poets and writers have always taken inspiration from the season – Albert Camus called it “a second spring when every leaf’s a flower”, William Ellingham likens it to a forest fire “Autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods” and William Wordsworth heard music in the storms “Wild is the music of autumnal winds in the faded woods”. Autumn has inspired painters, sculptors and artists too. Andy Goldsworthy is perhaps the most famous of the modern environmental artists whose amazing visual works are often made with just the materials the autumn woods provide. It can be fun too, kids – and adults – love hunting for and collecting colourful leaves. One of the activities the Wild Ways Well group has tried is making a full rainbow

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Autumn is a time of change

I love autumn. We get to see the trees and plants prepare themselves for winter by drawing down the energy they have spent spring and summer creating. This energy transfers back to the roots, discarding the leaves once it is reabsorbed. It is this process which gives us the multi-coloured hues of autumn. Autumn reminds me of childhood days spend watching the rain pelt the windows, wrapped up all cosy in a duvet. I would think about how the blankets of leaves on the ground in their yellows, oranges and reds would act like a blanket for the roots of the plants, keeping them snug and warm during the cold winter months. I was at university with a student from overseas who came to Scotland to experience this season. He’d never seen autumnal changes and thought a semester in Scotland would be just the job. He wasn’t wrong, but he hadn’t realised that in Scotland we often experience all four seasons in one day! Here in Cumbernauld we are incredibly lucky to have so many beautiful woodlands where you can

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Tremendous Trees

If there’s one thing the recent spell of sunshine has shown me, it’s the value of a good tree. I often have people tell me how lucky I am to have an outdoor job  – and of course they’re right – but at the same time it can get pretty sweaty working outside in the heat! I don’t have any air conditioning in my outdoor office, but when the sun is beating down I can always cool down under the shade of one of Cumbernauld’s many trees. Cumbernauld has around 23% tree cover, which is an amazing stat, almost double the average for other similar sized towns. Over the next few months the Wild Ways Well project is going to be trying to map some of these using the new Open Laboratory Treezilla app. Treezilla has the ambitious target of recording every tree in the UK – a huge task! We might not manage to record every tree but we’ll have a lot of fun going out and identifying the trees around us and adding them to the list. This

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Heatwave

It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that it’s hot outside! This weather has been a boon for Human sun-worshippers but it is a difficult time for wildlife. Just like the recent stories of how our train tracks and roads are struggling to cope with temperatures outside of Scotland’s normal range, so too are our native species. They’re adapted to live within the range of temperatures and levels of rainfall generally found here, so when those ranges alter they are often left struggling to cope. In spring we were talking about how the bees and butterflies coming out of hibernation had been hit hard by the cold snap, many will have died by emerging too early, now however those individuals whose emergence was delayed are also suffering. Together these twin shocks could be very dangerous for some species. The drought of 1976 caused butterfly populations to crash to a level that some species have never really recovered from and June 2018 was even drier than June 1976. Last week we had a Wild Ways Well first when we decided not to