P6 & P7 pupils from the Royal School Of Dunkeld recently joined the rangers for a morning of practical work. The task to help fix the footpaths around Jubilee park and Birnam Oak which is part of the popular riverside walk.
The Pupils raked leaves, dug out muddy patches and wheelbarrowed material to fill In potholes. Pupils will use the practical experience to help them achieve their John Muir award.
The Royal School of Dunkeld are working with various partners to improve and learn about the Greenspace surrounding the school.
The Green Routes Group in Crieff was busy last Thursday creating some tree pits for a few of the trees along the lade-side in MacRosty Park. We were lucky enough to be joined by Graham from another department within the council, and Sebastienne from the NHS.
Tree pits are used for several purposes, and can be very small or vast in size – depending on the location and the size of the tree. In the case of these trees the pits were created to prevent grass from growing right up to the base of the tree. When cutting grass that is too close to the base of the tree there is a risk of damaging the tree with the cutting equipment.
To create these pits we needed to dig out the top 4-6 inches of soil from around the base of the trees. We then put down some mulch matting to prevent weeds from growing as readily, and filled in the rest with bark. Once finished the pits looked great, and should require very little maintenance each year, other than occasional top-up of bark.
Invasive Species are a tricky thing in Tayside. There is a multitude of different invasive species and they all come with different challenges. It is very difficult to conquer these without a catchment wide approach and large amount of parties working together to tackle it.
Invasive species alter our natural environment, they out-compete other native species and dominate areas, creating habitats which don’t provide the diversity our wildlife need to sustain themselves and their populations.
Himalayan Balsam – An Invasive Species
The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative was covered on BBC Landward recently. This is a project funded over the next 3 years to tackle invasive species within several areas including Tayside.
Many people think of most wildlife slowing down for the winter or, in the case of some birds, flying to warmer climates. But, there is still plenty of wildlife to be seen – including some special winter visitors!
Red squirrels are still busy looking for food to store away for the winter months. They are frequently seen foraging on the forest floor or scrambling up the trunk of a pine tree. Your best chance of seeing them is to look in your local coniferous woodlands. Be aware of them running across the road though, as they don’t have very good road sense! Find out where they have been spotted recently on the Red Squirrels in Perth and Kinross Facebook page
Red squirrel and a blue-tit at a feeder spotted by Ranger Calum. Do you know of any feeders near you?
One sound that is often associated with the arrival of the colder months is the calls from large flocks of geese flying overhead. You may see the large “V” formations as they pass by. Did you know that this “V” is a great example of teamwork? Each bird flying reduces the air and wind resistance for the bird behind, allowing them to fly further before getting tired – they also take it in turns to fly at the front!
If you are lucky, you may even have some new faces in your garden. One special winter visitor is the Waxwing. This bird flies over from Scandinavia to find food, sometimes in quite large numbers. Keep an eye out for them gathered in small-to-medium flocks in Rowan or Hawthorn Trees. There are plenty others to be found; including goldfinches, long-tailed tits, blackbirds, woodpeckers and more.
The acrobatic long-tailed tits are great fun to watch – look for them in hedgerows, bushes and low trees
What wildlife have you seen in your area? Let us know in the comments below!
There are some hidden gems within our countryside sites. At Barnhill, within Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park, there are some old hay-meadows hidden in the woodland. Over the last several years these meadows have been left unmaintained – almost forgotten and now overgrown. Together with the Kinnoull Hill Woodland Group we have plans to clear the meadows and plant some wildflowers, adding a more plant diversity to the area – turning near-forgotten grasslands into species-rich meadows.
One of the Barnhill meadows
Within these meadows we found several fruit trees, which had been planted to celebrate the millennium. These trees are each surrounded by a cage from when they were planted, to protect the young trees from grazing animals like deer and rabbits. Whilst these cages were initially useful for keeping out the grazers, the trees have grown too large for rabbits to damage, and tall enough that deer can reach regardless of a cage.
Volunteer Jane removing vegetation
Volunteer David pruning a fruit tree
Ranger Calum removing the wire cages
On Saturday 6th October we started the process of bringing life back to the meadows. The first step was to open up the cages surrounding the trees. Once these cages were opened up we could access the vegetation that had been swamping the trees. As the volunteers cleared the overgrown vegetation and pruned back some of the branches from the fruit trees, the Community Greenspace Horticultural Modern Apprentice Adam was also able to prune back some of the surrounding Hawthorn trees to improve access to the meadow.
There are upcoming volunteer days planned within the Barnhill meadows on Kinnoull Hill. Would you be interested in joining? To find out more contact Greenspace Ranger Calum Bachell at email@example.com or 01738 476792
Did you know that this week (24th-30th September) is Red Squirrel Awareness Week?
Perth and Kinross can be a great place for spotting these amazing creatures. From Kinnoull Hill in Perth to the Den o’ Alyth or the Black Spout Woods, many of our countryside sites are home to the Red Squirrel. Take a walk out in your local forest and you may be lucky enough to see one! Red squirrels tend to build their nests, or dreys, in tall coniferous trees, and are often seen scrambling up the trunks of trees.
A Red Squirrel spotted near Aberfeldy by Greenspace Ranger Calum Bachell
Red squirrels are very busy during the autumn, making this time of year perfect for spotting them. Keep a look out on the forest floor as they collect berries, seeds, nuts and fungi to keep themselves fed through the winter months. Listen for the sound of the squirrels climbing up the trees, chewing on a pine cone, or shouting to another squirrel. You can also often tell if red squirrels are nearby by finding chewed pine cones scattered around the forest floor.
Perth and Kinross Council Community Greenspace ranger and Breadalabane Community Library attended the community workshop about making a Dementia Friendly Aberfeldy.
This working partnership used this event to launch the ten week block of dementia friendly sessions, for early spring 2019. The theme is life cycles, looking at Butterflies and plant life cycles. These sessions will be open to all and will be a mix of indoor and outdoor time, with time for a cuppa and chat.
The event was very inspiring and full of use full tips, which we and other organisations will be taking. So if you have any ideas or suggestions how to make Aberfeldy’s greenspaces dementia friendly and therefore friendly to all please do get in touch, firstname.lastname@example.org .
For those interested in who else was there please see the Facebook write up, below.
Dementia Friendly Aberfeldy Launch Event
The purpose of the event was to establish if there was appetite within the community for Aberfeldy to work towards Dementia-Friendly status.
The event was well attended with 72 people taking part, including speakers.
There were essentially two parts to the event. The first part explored already established dementia–friendly communities nationally and internationally. The second, a Market Stall section that functioned as folk were gathering, but which was set up the whole time, in which 16 organisations were able to show and tell their work in this area.
There was clear support for taking the concept of Dementia-Friendly Aberfeldy forward and the next steps were outlined by Janette Barrie.
If interested in supporting the group, please get in touch via the e-mail address
Organisations and Contact Info (no particular order):
• The Care and Wellbeing Co-operative – Helping shape care in rural Perthshire www.thecareandwellbeing.coop
Ph: 07548 257 436 e-mail email@example.com
• Alzheimer Scotland – Action on Dementia. www.alzscot.org
Freephone: 0808 808 3000 – e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
• The Home Safety Partnership (NHS Tayside, PKC, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Scottish Police, Perthshire Housing, PKAVS, Age Scotland) contact Carolyn Wilson E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 01738 473146
• Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities – contact Audra Webster for the North Perthshire Locality. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Mob: 07896 280 852
• The Birks Cinema Screen Memories Project – resuming Soon – E-mail: email@example.com
• The Birks Cinema Adult Health and Well Being Activities :
Chair Based Exercise – Mondays 11.15-12.00 am – with Emma Burtles
Craic ‘n’ Craft Thursday from 2-4 pm for a cup of tea, craic and craft
Second Sunday of the month 3pm Afternoon tea and singalong
More info: from Fiona 07990 834 092 www.birkscinema.co.uk
• Start Active, Stay Active: www.bit.ly/startactive
• Stride for Life Health Walks – live active Wellbeing – www.liveactive.co.uk
Contact Colin Melville firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 01738 454 628 – Walks established in Kinross, Crieff, Alyth, North Muirton, Birnam, Bankfoot, Stanley …. Aberfeldy next?
• Kirrie Connections: The Dementia Friendly Kirremuir Project. www.kirrieconnections.com
E-mail: email@example.com Phone: 01575 573 805
• PKAVS Thirds Sector and Volunteering Hubs – Third Sector Interface for Perth & Kinross (TSI) www.thirdsectorpk.org.uk E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 01738 567 076
(PKAVS = Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service Ltd. It is a registered Charity)
• Paths for All – supporting a network of Health Walk groups across Scotland www.pathsforall.org.uk E-mail: email@example.com Ph: 01259 218 888
• Live active Wellbeing – Make the First Move – advice and support www.liveactive.co.uk Active Community Team Tel: 01738 454 616
Activity Referral Coordinators Tel: 01738 454660
General Wellbeing Enquiries E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
• PKAVS Carers Hub – www.pkavscarershub.org.uk Ph: 01738 452 214 E-mail email@example.com
• Wellbeing Support Team Aberfeldy Ph: 01887 822462 www.pkc.gov.uk/mentalhealth
• The Home Straight – Independent Living Solutions for older people www.thehomestraight.org.uk Call: 07840 544 420 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
• Happy Highlanders For partners, carers or befrienders of someone suffering from Dementia
Contacts: Margaret Hamilton (Chair) 01796 470 360 or Linda Crookston (Vice Chair) 01796 482 724 or Linda Thomson (Secretary) 01738 787 425
I’m Calum Bachell, and I will be covering the South Perth and Kinross area until January 2019. Having worked as part of the community greenspace team as a graduate trainee in 2015 I was delighted to come back as a greenspace ranger.
Between leaving PKC in 2015 and now I have completed a Master’s degree in Biology at the University of Tromsø; spending 1 year in Tromsø and another 1 ½ years in Svalbard. I focussed on studying nest defence behaviour in eider ducks against arctic foxes and predatory birds. After completion of my degree I worked a field season for the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, researching and monitoring seabird populations on the west coast of Norway.
My background is largely in ecology and wildlife, having studied a BSc in Ecological Science at The University of Edinburgh between 2010 and 2014. Working now as a Ranger allows me to apply my knowledge and experience in Greenspace sites in Perthshire. Now based back in Scotland I look forward to covering the South Perthshire area, including the incredible Kinnoull Hill, Loch Leven Heritage Trail and other great greenspaces in the area.
Community Greenspace recently attended the family fun with nature event at Rattray primary school. The event was used to promote the fantastic parks and open spaces which are in the area. In particular the Loon Braes which is less than five minutes walk form the event. Greenspace Rangers Alistair and Joanna had a range of activities on offer including pond dipping with mini-beasts from the Loon Braes pond, scavenger hunts plus animal mask making. Over 130 adults and children visited the stall and the rangers were able to engage and explain the importance of our greenspaces for both wildlife and recreation.
The event was run in conjunction with community learning and included a visit from the wild about Scotland bus and visitors enjoyed a free nature themed lunch.