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Leave no trace

The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Seafar Wildlife Reserve is one of my favourite places in Cumbernauld to visit. The Trust is working hard to change the structure of the woodlands, helping native trees and wildflowers to flourish in the new light, open spaces. More native trees and flowers means more insects like butterflies and dragonflies, which in turn leads to more birds and mammals. Already you can see signs of this change. The reserve is popular with the public too, and because we spend a lot of time here the Wild Ways Well team feels a bit of responsibility towards it. A few weeks ago we had a litter pick and removed ten bin bags of litter, plus a family-sized inflatable paddling pool and a destroyed picnic bench, all from one tiny area. The saddest part was all the broken glass. It’s awful to think of barefooted children playing there, and of the animals who call Seafar home. Wildlife can be badly affected by litter, eating it, becoming entangled or injuring themselves. A cut paw for a badger, without access to

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Here be Badgers!

It was a mixed bag for the Wild Ways Well groups last week, the Tuesday group was forced indoors by the heavy rain and freezing conditions, while the Thursday group spent part of its session basking in the sunshine in a woodland clearing! Mother Nature likes keeping us guessing. Looking at my diary, last year at this time we were rushing back and forward to the wildflowers we planted at Ravenswood, trying to keep them watered in a heatwave – this year I’m looking for arctic supplies and an igloo building kit. I’ve been getting a bit poetic in my blogs lately (we should definitely have a Wild Ways Well poetry session!) but weather like this always makes me think of Sir Alexander Gray’s poem ‘Scotland’, especially these bits   This is my country, The land that begat me. These windy spaces Are surely my own. And those who here toil In the sweat of their faces Are flesh of my flesh, And bone of my bone. … Yet do thy children Honour and love thee. Harsh is thy schooling,

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Fantastic Fungi

While out with the Wild Ways Well group this Thursday we were lucky enough to come across some amazing fungi in the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Seafar Wood Wildlife Reserve. Each one was the size of a pinhead, and they ranged in colour from brilliant orange to vivid green. Fungi are fascinating, belonging to a Kingdom of Life all of their own. Unlike plants they can’t make their own food from sunlight, instead they have to obtain their nutrients from the environment around them. Many types of fungi feast on dead wood. These are the only organisms that are able to break down the structure of wood. Just imagine if wood never rotted, we’d quickly be up to our necks in fallen trees! Fungi is around us all the time, from the microscopically small to the very large. One honey fungus growing in Oregon is believed to be an incredible 2.4 miles across, making it the largest organism on Earth. They are important to humans too, without them we couldn’t have bread, wine, beer or pizza bases. But they can also