Giving Nature a Home in Glasgow

Our work

Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

Giving Nature a Home in Glasgow

An exciting project about reconnecting with nature and bringing it back into our city.
  • Flourishing young minds for a flourishing old city

    This year’s Youth Conference will bring together the best young minds at Glasgow Science Centre, as they plan for Glasgow’s environmental future in a series of presentations and hands-on seminars. Volunteer Michaela Barton reports.

    People always say we should preserve the environment for our children. Well, now young innovators are taking matters into their own hands.

    Year of Young People 2018 is the opportunity for people aged 8-26 to platform their talents, ideas and help design their futures. In collaboration with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), RSPB Scotland will host a Youth Conference on 23 October, aimed at young people who want to be the next generation of designers, architects, engineers and ecologists.

    The Youth Conference will be held at the Glasgow Science Centre and has 90 young people attending, all ready to share their plans for their city’s green spaces.

    The talks and workshops will be delivered by young people from community groups, ambassador school projects and green infrastructure projects, who have all really proved to be local champions for nature in their area. The event will act as an opportunity for these young innovators to share their experience with one another and learn about all the brilliant work occurring across the city. There will also be interactive design sessions held, where young conference attendees can showcase their ideas for Glasgow’s green infrastructure

    The event will be a fantastic opportunity for anyone wishing to pursue a career in conservation, ecology or landscape architecture. Professionals from these career areas will be available to share their tips and offer advice for any budding environmentalists hoping to change the world. There will also be a market place where representatives from architecture practices, Landscape Institute, SNH, Glasgow City Council and conservation charities will provide information about careers in conservation and design.

    This conference will close the Glasgow Wildlife Garden Festival which has been celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Glasgow Garden Festival with a series of events this summer, and over 50 partners coming together to celebrate and enhance green spaces across our beautiful city. Groups involved helped build ponds, wildflower meadows, bird boxes and pollinator highways – all contributing to the continued preservation of Glasgow’s ecology. The Youth Conference will take ecological reservation one step further and plan for the next 30 years.

    If you are interested in attending the Youth Conference and sharing your biodiversity plans, get in touch and book a place by contacting fiona.weir@rspb.org.uk.

  • Calling all city-dwelling nature lovers

    Volunteer Michaela Barton, fills us in on the latest events with the Glasgow Wildlife Garden Festival 2018

    The Glasgow Wildlife Garden Festival is continuing this August as part of GO LIVE! at the Green. This innovative live experience brings together sport, fitness, health, arts, food and drink as never before in an engaging and exciting way to encourage people to lead healthy and active lives.

    The event is taking place from 2-12 August on Glasgow Green, and RSPB Scotland will be there every day showcasing Glasgow’s beautiful green spaces. We’ll also be running plenty of free workshops, talks and fun activities to keep the kids entertained.

    This year’s festival guest of honour is nature itself and we’ll be exploring the present and future of greenery in Glasgow. If you have some great gardening tips, interesting bird spots or you simply want to get learn more about urban wildlife, come down and chat to us.

    For the kids, we’re holding events suitable for bird detectives, bug hunters and champion worm charmers! For the younger toddlers, we’ll also have stories, crafts and plenty of catchy songs to keep them humming all day.

    We’ll also be remembering the original Garden Festival, which was held 30 years ago this summer. For those who don’t remember, the original festival was an open-air celebration of Glasgow’s culture, which ended up bringing 4.3 million people to the city, including Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

    Our fellow collaborators, Glasgow City Council Land Environmental Services, and Springburn Winter Gardens Trust, are also holding lots of exciting events as part of Go Live!, so you’re sure to find something that peaks your interest.

    https://www.festival2018glasgow.com/whats-on/go-live-at-the-green/

  • The Walking Library for a Wild City

    As the Glasgow Wildlife Garden Festival approaches its third weekend, guest blogger Deirdre Heddon explains a bit more about her participation in the festival, through the Walking Library. 

    The Walking Library is a creative research project initiated by Dee Heddon & Misha Myers in 2012. In its simplest conception, The Walking Library is a library filled with books, each one suggested as ‘good to take on a walk’. The Walking Library follows in the historical footsteps of those eighteenth-century poets and writers such as William Wordsworth and John Muir who would travel great distances by foot but always in the company of books, selected carefully to provide companionship.

    The Walking Library for a Wild City is the ninth edition of the project. Each edition asks a specific question: what book would you take on this walk? And then it gathers up those books and walks with them.

    For The Walking Library for a Wild City, commissioned by Glasgow 2018, we asked: ‘What book reveals wildness in the city?’ and ‘What book would you rewild by walking?’ By the date of the first walk, the 13th May, we had received more than 50 suggestions.

    We were delighted that our first walk of this new Library was a collaboration with the RSPB, as part of their Garden Festival. Titled “a walk to arcadia: a biblioblitz from the Barras”, we borrowed and adapted the RSPB’s popular observing and recording activity, the BioBlitz. A BioBlitz involves identifying all living things in an area within a set period of time. For our walk we brought together the bio with the biblio (from the Greek, biblion, meaning book) in a biblioblitz. Carrying recommended books with us as we walked from the Barrowlands to Arcadia Street and back, we used them to help us ‘rewild’ our city, seeing anew the nature and wildness all around us, from the weeds in the pavements to the nests in the trees.

    At the start of the walk, we invited those who had joined us to select a book from our Walking Library, one that they would like to carry with them. We then invited them to stop and share something from their walked book wherever they felt a resonance between the book’s content and our environment. Keen to remap the city according to the wildness we found, we also invited people to point out any wilderness encountered en route and rename the streets (‘Bees Brow’ and ‘Dandelion Daunder’). Our collaborator, the artist Alec Finlay, who walked with us, would take use these observations to make new, wilder maps of Glasgow.

    We were lucky for this walk. The sun shone on us. Books we carried and shared included Field Notes from a Hidden City: Urban Nature Diary, by Esther Woolfson, Wild Plants of Glasgow, by J. H. Dickson, The Public Life of the Street Pigeon, by Eric Simms, Dead Cities, by Mike Davis and Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. We saw wild flowers (‘weeds’) taking over numerous derelict buildings, oblivious to concrete and masonry; we imagined the post-apocalyptic city alongside a wilder, more open shared commons; we learnt of the use of pigeons during the war (unwitting conscripts); we thought about land managed as ‘wild space’ for the pollinators; we talked of the heavily polluted Clyde, now home to otters and fish; we wondered what sort of future we could imagine for this dear green city, home to the Glasgow Garden Festival 30 years ago. What sort of Garden City might it be 30 years from now? Walking, reading, talking, imagining…

    Our next walk offers another Biblioblitz, this one starting at the site of the original Glasgow Garden Festival (Festival Park): 26 May, 11-12.30

    Walks are free but booking is recommended:

    https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/garden-to-garden-a-biblioblitz-a-green-walk-from-festival-park-walking-library-walk-tickets-45558044337?aff=erelpanelorg

    For more information on wild city, visit our blog:

    http://wildcityglasgow.blogspot.co.uk/

    Photographs by Kate McAllan