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.
  • Meeting a hedgehog without spines

    Winter is beginning to make its presence felt and the Hedgehogs and Habitats event that took place at Kelvingrove Art Gallery on Sunday 22 October, gave everyone a little reminder about looking after nature at this time of the year. Volunteer, Kyle Reid, tells us more. 

    The event focussed on the loss and fragmentation of suitable hedgehog habitat, as well as issues such as the lack of good nesting sites. I think people, particularly the younger visitors, were very surprised to find out what they can do to help, even in their own back gardens. Many of them were unaware that hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, and will often seek shelter in gardens to hibernate for the winter.  

    Sarah-Jayne from RSPB Glasgow and Jackie from Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue talked to the visitors about some of the issues affecting hedgehogs, which have seen a drastic decline in their numbers, with at least a quarter of the population lost in the last decade. Issues include: drowning, plastic pollution, increased threat of predation from badgers and a reduced amount of invertebrate food, such as slugs, which forms a key part of their diet.

    Top tips for anyone keen to help hedgehogs are:

    • Make sure that you have gaps in fences or walls for them to move freely between gardens.
    • Give up on the garden work for a while and let some overgrowth, log piles or compost heaps gather in certain patches. Hedgehogs are always on the lookout for warm, cosy places to settle down during the winter months.
    • Avoid using pesticides, as these will reduce the amount of food around for the hedgehogs to eat. 

    Despite being hectic, the event ran very smoothly, with small groups heading downstairs in the museum every 20 minutes to see the hedgehogs, while the crowds upstairs were kept entertained with a ‘seedbomb’ workshop. This involved making little hedgehogs out of clay and bits of bark, with a sprinkling of seeds rolled up inside to be put out in hard to reach areas of the back garden,

    Downstairs, visitors were able to get an up-close look at the stars of the show: an unnamed hedgehog to be released back into the wild and a captive hedgehog affectionately named Baldy, due to the fact that she was born without any spikes. Unable to fend for herself in the wild, Baldy has always been kept in captivity, giving her a gentler disposition that some of her feistier companions. (We didn't actually have any runaways but a few of them have made a valiant attempt!)

    Our generous visitors helped us to raise £200 throughout the afternoon, so thank you very much to everyone who came along.

    For more up-coming events in Glasgow, visit

    Find out more about Hessilhead







  • Special music commissioned for National Chamber Music Day event this Saturday

    Glasgow Wildfest continues this weekend, and it's taking on a rather musical slant in celebration of National Chamber Music Day! The Hidden Gardens, in Glasgow's South Side, will be open from 12pm-6pm on Saturday as part of Doors Open Day, and from 5pm you can bring along a picnic and eat to the relaxing sound of live chamber music. Enterprise Music Scotland have commissioned a new piece in honour of the event, and they've given us permission to re-post their blog about it below:  

    For this year’s National Chamber Music Day we have commissioned composer, Matilda Brown to write a new work!

    The piece will be premièred at a special free event in collaboration with RSPB Wildfest and Door Open Days at the Hidden Gardens, Glasgow on Saturday 16th September, 5pm.

    Matilda on the new commission:

    Birds fly, humans only try…

    This new bird commission by EMS has given me the opportunity to discover many beautiful and exciting new things about birds and to share and perform these ideas with new musicians, out in the open.

    Working on the project took me back to my first ever commission, ‘First Flight’ performed by ensemble 10:10, about two birds exploring the world for the first time, like fledglings leaving the nest.

    This new piece features four birds that fly solo and meet together at various points throughout the music. At some point each instrument from the ensemble takes a turn to become one of these birds.

    • Skylark featuring a stonechat
    • Cuckoo
    • Curlew
    • Sea eagle

    The instrumentation I have used is violin, viola, cello, piano and vocals.

    Various motifs and accompaniments in the music are there to express the speed, size, elegance and character of each bird on some level, and to provoke in the listener, some kind of emotional response that may connect to their personal experiences of birds.

    My inspiration for the piece began by simply going outside and listening to birds from the end of summer leading into the Autumn. Then I listened to Messiaen’s 'Chronochromie’, being once again amazed by his scoring of birdsong. My main source of inspiration has come from Kate Bush’s album, 'Ariel’, where she sings to live sound recordings of birds.

    The piece for me, links to some of the music I have written in response to long distance wilderness walks. In 2014, I walked the Cape Wrath solo and I was convinced a little brown bird, which was a skylark, followed me for two days. I decided to feature this bird in a short song within the piece.

    Humans have always wanted to fly. Perhaps that is one of the many reasons why birds continue to fascinate us - being in awe of their ability to be free. Let us preserve, enjoy and look up to these most precious birds.

    National Chamber Music Day 2017 is sponsored by Mackie's of Scotland and The Hugh Fraser Foundation.

    You can follow EMS on Facebook and twitter, and find more events using the hashtag

    For more Glasgow Wildfest events, including music at the Kelvingrove Bandstand, and foraging with Urban Roots, visit

  • Glasgow Wildfest 2017: meet the artist!

    Our leaflet for Glasgow Wildfest this year was illustrated by the artist Stuart Hatt. He tells us a bit about how he came up with the design.

    Hi! My Name is Stuart Hatt and I run ‘The Squid & Nib’ – an independent art and illustration company. I work in watercolour and black ink, mostly, for a wide spectrum of clients and have most recently launched my own Apparel Company with my artwork screen printed onto T-shirts!

    When I found out I was working with RSPB Scotland I was over the moon. I’ve a love of wildlife and the natural environment, which you can see in much of my work. I’d recently been painting birds for a personal project so I was raring to go.

    I’ d previously done a seascape painting, which was very much the same feel as I wanted the RSPB poster to have. As you can see it’s bright, detailed and packed to the brim with content. I felt this would be a really good concept for the RSPB poster as it reflects the wildlife in and around our city – wherever you look, you’ll find something.

     As with most of my watercolour paintings I start by gathering reference photos and for this painting there were a lot! I think I’ve counted over 115 plants, animals and birds in it. Once the reference photos are all gathered I draw out a pencilled drawing of all the creatures. I work from the bottom up and fill the page as I travel up the page. I met with the RPSB to make sure they were happy then it was time to Ink it up. This took about two days and at the end of it I scanned the drawing in to make a line drawing which you can now colour in. 

    Last step is breaking open my watercolour paints and getting stuck in. This took about three days to complete. I particularly like the windows on the Kibble Palace and the trees packed with birds. I’m really happy with the outcome, I hope you all like it too! 

    You can find out more about Stuart through the links below