Wednesday 3 June 2020

Join a Friends Group for 30 Days Wild

If you live near a park or other greenspace you may have spent more time than usual walking round it as your Daily Exercise during lockdown. You may have started to appreciate this greenspace more and wonder how you can help look after it.

Friends groups are a very popular initiative in the UK to enable groups of people to look after their local greenspaces.

Edinburgh's Saughton Park recently received a significant amount of funding from the National Lottery to refurbish it and to convert the derelict buildings in the park into meeting rooms and a cafe, to restore the bandstand (which had been removed from the park many years ago and put in storage)

and to install a microhydro electric generator on the Water of Leith where it runs through the park. A group of local people started a Friends of Saughton Park group to look after the park and to hold events to encourage people to visit and anppreciate the park. This is a very active group, with subgroups that focus on different aspects of the park, including the biodiversity, the history and the orchard. If you live in the local area, it's a great group to get involved with.

The Water of Leith doesn't have a friends group as such but it does have the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, which was the first river conservation trust established in Scotland. The trust looks after the river in many ways and, in normal times, offers loads of interesting volunteering opportunities (before lockdown I was volunteering with the trust every week and hope to return to that once lockdown allows for that).

During lockdown, we've been limited to our very local area for Daily Exercise walks and we've discovered that the two local cemeteries are real havens for wildlife. Dalry Cemetery has set up a friends group since lockdown and this group will ensure that the cemetery is kept tidy and will also record the wealth of wildlife that lives there.

Now that lockdown has been slightly relaxed in Scotland, we have started taking longer weekend walks to Corstorphine HIll, which also has its own Friends Group!

Other friends groups for greenspaces in Edinburgh include:

Are you involved in a Friends group or similar that looks after a local greenspace? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments!


Podo said...

I am going to look into this. I've noticed these organizations on European blogs, but I'm pretty sure they are not real common here for specific areas. There are national and regional conservation organizations, but for smaller "park" -like areas, I dont think there is. Thanks for the food for thought.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Friends Groups is a wonderful idea! I would join one for neighborhood walking paths if there were one. When I walk to the River now I notice graffiti under bridges (the vandalism kind)... that never used to be there. And more litter. All so sad.