Big plans for 2013: the Year of Natural Scotland

2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust has big plans to celebrate it by protecting our fantastic wildlife and wild places for the benefit of present and future generations.

The Trust will be making the famous Red Moss of Balerno in Edinburgh completely wheelchair accessible by upgrading the boardwalk around the peat bog, improving its stability and enabling more visitors to see and understand this threatened landscape and its wildlife.

At Pease Dean in the Scottish Borders, the Trust is undertaking a massive programme of felling non native trees and replacing with native ones, including oak and hazel which provide homes and food for more insects and birds. The felled trees will be left in the valley as deadwood, which is excellent habitat for mosses, lichens and insects.

At the Red Moss of Netherley near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, the raised bog will be restored by putting in over 30 small dams to keep the bog wet; ensuring that the bog continues to be a carbon store and provides habitat for insects, amphibians and birds such as snipe and long eared owls. Visitors should also look out for evidence of pine martens – a once rare species that is now making a comeback.

At Carron Dams in Falkirk, the circular reserve path will be upgraded, creating a complete one mile trail through the wetland and fen habitats and deciduous woodland. Here visitors should look out for the threatened water vole, as well as birds including water rail and great crested grebe.

In the New Year the Trust will launch a public fundraising campaign to establish a new path network on Handa Island, off the far north west coast of Scotland. The new path will protect the island from erosion and provide a safer environment for our many visitors. Handa is a spectacular island and a popular destination for people wishing to see an exciting collection of sea birds including puffins and razor bills, and to experience the picturesque and wild views.

The Year of Natural Scotland is a chance for us all to celebrate and stand up for our natural environment. The Scottish Wildlife Trust is determined to be the voice of wildlife, encouraging politicians to do the right thing to safeguard nature and our natural life support systems. It is speaking out against inappropriate developments and connecting even more people with wildlife and the countryside.

Scottish Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Simon Milne said:

“The Year of Natural Scotland is set to be a busy year across Scotland’s natural environment. We hope that enhanced access on our reserves and the fascinating improvements to habitats which benefit wildlife will inspire more people than ever before to explore and enjoy Scotland’s wild places.

“In 2013, we have big plans on many of our 120 wildlife reserves across the country, including running more activities and self guided trails at the Falls of Clyde at New Lanark, making the Red Moss of Balerno in the city of Edinburgh into a completely wheelchair accessible reserve and undertaking a huge programme of ditch damming to protect a lowland raised bog in Aberdeenshire.

“We’ll continue to campaign for wildlife friendly legislation and speak up for wildlife in Scotland. We are determined to get agricultural insecticides known as neonicotinoids banned because they are dangerous to bees. At sea we are pressing for tough legislation that will ensure Scotland’s fish farms do not destroy the very environment on which their brand is built. In addition we look forward for helping the Scottish Government deliver an effective network of marine protected areas, to enable our beleaguered sea life to recover from the pressures of over fishing and irresponsible development.

“And we must not forget our urban habitats, connecting people to nature which has proven health and wellbeing benefits. We are launching an ambitious ‘Living Landscape’ project in urban Cumbernauld, linking up greenspaces and increasing the quality of the local environment for both the people who live there and the wildlife that calls it home.”

Broadcaster and Scottish Wildlife Trust Ambassador Stephen Jardine added:

“The festive season is a great time to get out for a walk with the family to enjoy Scotland's wonderful landscape and to spot our precious wildlife.

“The year of Natural Scotland offers a special opportunity to explore our rich natural heritage. My New Year resolution is to try and spot some Scottish wildlife I haven't seen before and I'd urge you and your family to join me and do the same in 2013.”

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2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust has big plans to celebrate it by protecting our fantastic wildlife and wild places for the benefit of …

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