With summer on its last legs I thought I would write you all an update on our progress towards putting the money Colin McLean left us to good use, to keep us all cheerful through those nasty cold winter months.
At our consultation event a few of years ago we defined four categories of activity that our members wanted us to contribute to.
As I told you all in my last update six months ago we have now met our direct financial commitment to the first of these, the development of the new area adjoining Bawsinch. The fencing we offered to legacy fund has been erected and SWT's flying herd have been munching away and doing their bit to improve the biodiversity of the newly enclosed grassland. LCV has had a number of enjoyable follow up trips to carry out a range of tasks on the newly enclosed area and in the pre-existing main body of the reserve.
The second category of activity is a small grants scheme. Four schemes were selected earlier this year:
To support grassland habitats at Gullane Bents by purchasing the equipment needed to manage the site and to train up some local volunteers in its use. East Lothian Council subsequently asked us if they could focus on equipment only and we were happy to agree to this. Scythes have now been purchased and LCV members were happy to put them to use recently, reporting that they were good quality and easy to set up and use. A nice big grassland area got cut and raked and East Lothian Council is looking forward to working on involving local volunteers to assist with the work.
To help out SWT with the cost of equipment for their tree surgery team so that they can go on dealing with the trees too big for untrained volunteers to handle. SWT have put this money towards a new rigging kit for their tree surgery team. This is used to dismantle trees safely and includes a number of wonderfully named items such as the "floating lowering device", "Teufelberger Sirius bull rope" and the "Marlow Dyneema Whoopie sling" which will hopefully be helping out SWT for years to come with trees that are beyond LCV's scope.
To contribute towards the cost of an interpretation panel for the Gunpowder Mills site near Roslin in Midlothian. The panel has been designed by a local student as part of his degree studies, but erecting these panels is costly and the Friends of Roslin Glen were glad of a hand with covering the full estimate.
The remaining categories are Reserve Development and Tree Related Projects. We've made less progress on these so far, as persuading new or long inactive clients to take an interest has been harder than expected, though we have had some promising interest from a few sources.
However, on top of our trip to SWT's wonderful Carstramon Wood reserve in spring 2015 we have had an excellent trip to Carsegowan Moss and to the Falls of Clyde where we were helping to repair a path which had been badly damaged by recent felling operations.
Two further legacy funded trips are planned for this autumn. Firstly a follow up trip to Carstramon Wood and Carsegowan Moss where we will be following up on our previous beech and birch control work in this ancient coppiced woodland and bogland habitat and additionally, a further visit to the Falls of Clyde where we will be helping to create a sand martin nesting bank.