Going Wild about Scotland through June 2018

18/07/2018 in RZSS

Fantastic weather kicked off a wonderful month for the Wild About Scotland team, beginning with Gardening Scotland’s Big Back Garden Event. This was a fabulous day showcasing the wonders of Scotland’s outdoors, and how we can help native Scottish wildlife in our own gardens. We welcomed nearly 200 people onboard the Wild about Scotland Bus, and the team even got a chance to have a go at some amateur bee keeping! Thanks for having us, it was the bees’ knees!

After this, the team were on the road again, this time to the Highlands and the Outer Hebrides! We began with a fabulous family event at the Dingwall Library, before continuing our journey to Strathpeffer. Whilst here, we had the wonderful opportunity to work with Nicola, Project Officer from Scottish Wildcat Action, due to Strathpeffer being one of the key priority areas for Scottish wildcats. Students from Strathpeffer Primary School had received a camera trap earlier in the year to record wildlife sightings, and it was fantastic to witness such enthusiasm to protect one of our most iconic native Scottish species.

Following Strathpeffer, the team headed over to sunny Gairloch for the rest of the week. The bus was stationed at Gairloch High School, and from there we welcomed students from Gairloch Primary and High School, Bualnaluib Primary School and Poolwe Primary School, educating on a plethora of topics including Marvelous Minibeasts, Scottish Habitats and Endangered Animals- thanks to all who hopped on board, and special thanks to Gairloch High School for organizing the week, we had a blast!

Once our week was finished in Gairloch, it was time for the team to catch the ferry over to the Outer Hebrides! As our travel day was World Ocean Day, it was the perfect time to sit back and appreciate the beauty of our Scottish seas. It is home to many important marine animals, including but not limited to: a third of the global population of grey seals; the world’s most northerly population of bottlenose dolphins; 23 other species of the world’s 82 whales and dolphins and 43% of all seabirds breeding in the EU. They also provide summer feeding grounds for the basking shark, which is the world’s second largest fish, and the endangered leatherback turtle. However, our marine life is in serious trouble, due to the catastrophic amounts of plastic pollution entering our waterways. Experts think that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. As part of World Environment Day, the team decided to try and go as plastic free as possible for a week. On our food shops we made the effort to buy only unwrapped fruits and vegetables, more tinned goods and used reusable cups for our coffees in the morning. The experience was incredibly eye opening, and has definitely made us re-evaluate our plastic usage and where everyone can cut down!

Upon return from our Outer Hebrides trip, the team enjoyed teaching sessions at Merchiston Castle School, before heading to Blair Drummond Safari Park for the BIAZA Native Species Conference. It was a fantastic event, featuring talks and presentations from a variety of experts in their chosen field, including talks from Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels, Buglife, RSPB, RZSS and the Forestry Commission. Thanks to everyone involved in the conference- we absolutely adored finding out more about the conservation efforts being done to save our native wildlife!

Towards the end of June, the Wild about Scotland team visited the Royal Highland Show, over 2,000 people engaged with the stall over the course of the weekend! Thanks to all our volunteers who helped with the event, and to everyone who popped over to have a chat about native wildlife! As June began to wind down, the team enjoyed their final school visits of the term. We had the pleasure of teaching at St Joseph’s RC Primary School in Linlithgow, with special thanks to fellow Education Officer Jess for joining us and sharing her expertise! Following this, the bus travelled to Perth and Kinross to visit Aberuthven Primary School and Robert Douglas Memorial School, finishing off our year with some fantastic minibeast hunts! We’ve completed over 30 minibeast hunts this year, with all the crucial data being uploaded onto the Opal

National Citizen Science Survey. Thanks to all the schools that have participated in our minibeast hunts, it’s been so encouraging to see so many young people interested in our wee beasties! Our last event of June saw the team attend the Scone Game Fair, where we welcomed 500 people onboard the bus and enjoyed some fabulous Scottish summer weather!

Looking to July, the team are enjoying a well-deserved break before jumping into our busy summer schedule! Keep your eye out for the bus at events all over Scotland, including:

 

16th July – Friends of the Calder

18th July -Community Centre, Rattray

20th– Summer Reading, Loanhead Library

25th July -Food, Families, Futures, Children In Scotland

26th July -Cosmos After School and Holiday Club, Fife

27th July – Dundee Museum of Transport

31st July – Beach Clean, Fisherrow Sands, Musselburgh

 

See you soon!

Annabeth and Rosie

Education Officers

Wild about Scotland

 

Top Teacher & Public Comments

Dorothy MacSween, Bernera Primary School- “Very enjoyable visit! Thank you! :)”

Ruth Foster, Merchiston Castle School- “Great set-up for our small numbers, many thanks”

 

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