The Glasgow Wildlife Garden Festival is well underway after launching on Tuesday with an 11 mile cycle round the city, which Jenny Tweedie went along to.
There was a last-minute flurry of preparations before the bike parade set out. Foam petal cut-outs found their way onto bags, fuzzy bee costumes were tidied, and flowers were arranged artistically into panniers and baskets. This wasn't going to be a regular bike ride around Glasgow.
Photo: Louise Greenhorn
The 15 brave souls who set out from Hillhead High School this Tuesday, were raising awareness of the Glasgow Wildlife Garden Festival, and what better way to do it than to festoon themselves with natural habitats! Heading for an 11-mile ride around the city, they were armed with festival leaflets and wildflower seeds (courtesy of Grow Wild Scotland) to encourage everyone they met to give nature a home and get involved.
The festival is a three week celebration of Glasgow’s wild spaces; the green oases that hide away between the city’s tenements and motorways. These sites are vital for urban wildlife, offering tiny sanctuaries of food and shelter, but they’re equally vital for the people that use them. Getting outside, getting into nature, has been found to help reduce stress and improve health whatever your age, and at a time when more and more of us spend our lives glued to LCD screens, these refuges are surely more important than ever.
But finding the time and the incentive to get out there can sometimes be a challenge, which is why the festival is offering such a wide-range of opportunities right across the city. For the sedate nature-lovers, there’s a showing of Project Wild Thing in Kelvingrove Park (tonight). For the scientifically curious, there’s a chance to do some surveying, or take part in an archaeological dig. For the artistic, there’s up-cycling, for the culinary inclined, there’s some foraging. If you’re full of energy, there’s a canoe trip. If you’re five, there’s the smelly welly club. There’s jam-making, Open Doors events, guided walks, talks, storytelling, and even a comedy night to round it all off.
The bike parade visited just some of the many sites offering activities: North Kelvin Meadow, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Gorbals Healthy Living Project, Govanhill Baths, and Woodlands Community Gardens. It was a long day, with too many one way streets, too much traffic, and two punctures. But at the end of it all, the bees and the flowers were still smiling.
To take part in the Glasgow Wildlife Garden Festival, find all the events here: www.rspb.org.uk/thingstodo/glasgow or here: www.glasgowgardenfestival.org
And you can see more smiling bees here: