,

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

,

A wild year ahead

It’s hard to believe that we’re more than halfway through January already! Here at Cumbernauld Living Landscape it’s full steam ahead as we continue to work towards our vision of putting both people and wildlife at the heart of our town’s future. We’ve got lots of exciting projects coming up in the next 12 months, many of which you could get involved with. Our Wild Ways Well Thursday sessions started back last week, open to anyone looking to improve their mental wellbeing by spending more time outdoors. For people who like to get their hands dirty, our Nature Ninjas volunteers have been out planting trees at Glencryan Wood, and will be carrying out a variety of conservation activities throughout the year. Our education team are busy connecting with local schools, organising workshops and programmes that will connect young people with nature through fun and engaging activities based on natural heritage. Our habitats work will include a continuation of our ‘Nectar Networks’ projects, creating more homes for pollinating insects and improving biodiversity in the town. We’ll be working with partner organisations

,

Winter Blues

As I write this I’m huddled over a steaming mug of tea, wearing my warmest jumper and waiting for the forecast sleet to start falling outside. I console myself with the thought that, though it might not feel like it, spring is on the way. It probably hasn’t escaped long-term readers of these blogs that I’m no fan of winter! I’m not always right though— Aristotle said that “To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” And for John Steinbeck “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” Get outdoors and go looking and it won’t take you long to spot the signs of nature coming back to life. The trees are already full of bud and the tips of the first bulbs are poking through the ground, ready to bring us snowdrops and daffodils, with primroses not far behind. Robins and blackbirds are singing already at dawn, eager for the spring to come, and it won’t be long before we start to notice

,

Tree planting day

I love planting trees! There is little as satisfying as rooting a tree, taking a step back and imagining its future. How many years will it stay up for? What challenges will it face? What animals might call it home? When you plant trees, it feels like you’re planting a legacy. It’s your tree, and you want to look after it! Cumbernauld Living Landscape’s tree planting day at Broadwood will be a fantastic chance to have a lasting impact on your local greenspaces. It will also be a great chance to learn more about the trees that are being planted there. I get quite nerdy when it comes to tree species! I see each species of tree as having its own personality; its own quirks. Here’s some of the trees we’ll be planting: Sessile oaks are welcoming trees often considered the ‘father of the forest’. They can be home to over 300 animals, more than any other tree! Silver birch is an incandescent white tree, often considered a sign of purity. Often the first tree to emerge on virgin land,

,

First Impressions

Two months ago, I became a Volunteer Officer for Cumbernauld Living Landscape’s Wild Ways Well Project. Having recently moved to the central belt from Galloway, I knew very little about Cumbernauld other than it was a built up New Town. So you can imagine my joy when I learned that 50% of the town centre is made up of green space! I soon realised that the town has four Wildlife Reserves within a short distance from the centre and within them a variety of flora and fauna. On my first day I spotted a male Roe Deer as we made our way to the Cumbernauld Glen. I was astounded by the magnificent, ancient trees and diversity of birds we spotted there. The tranquillity of the river and the history of the town that intertwines here has quickly made it one of my favourite places to relax and forget about the stresses of life.   This brings me to the project which I volunteer on, Wild Ways Well, which seeks to do just that – make us feel better with a

,

The toast of Cumbernauld

Did you know that today is National Toast Day? You might be wondering where Cumbernauld Living Landscape stands on the great debates about whether to cut toast horizontally, diagonally or not at all, or if a dropped slice of toast will always land butter side down. But surely the most important issue is how do we make sure we can all enjoy this great day safely? After all, at 135 calories for a single slice of toast and jam, you’ll want a way get active afterwards. Luckily, Cumbernauld Living Landscape does have the answer to this one. Get outside! Walking is one of the best exercises you can do, you can do it at your own pace to suit your own activity levels, and it’s pretty much cost free. Combining your walk with a visit to one of Cumbernauld’s many parks or woodlands will also give you the ‘dose of nature’ that is being increasingly recognised as vital to our physical and mental health. You can take this even further. People taking part in one of our Wild Ways Well