To raise awareness of some of the key themes of Open Space 2021, Edinburgh’s new Open Space Strategy, we are holding a series of lunchtime training sessions for staff.
Professor Catharine Ward Thompson from the University of Edinburgh gave us a great overview of her research into why greenspace is good for us.
Catharine is Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University and directs OPENspace – the research centre for inclusive access to outdoor environments. The University is also one of the Council’s key partners for Edinburgh Living Landscape.
Catharine’s research has featured in the Green Health project for the Scottish Government, which looked at links between green space and stress in deprived urban populations. More recently Mobility, Mood and Place, focused on outdoor access and older people’s quality of life.
In Edinburgh we’ve been working since 2000 to help our declining population of swifts. This summer, in partnership with the RSPB, we are carrying out the first full survey in 10 years to identify where these amazing birds are nesting in the city. We need as many volunteers as possible to help and the good news is, this is a survey which works best in good weather!
A training event is being held on Wednesday 24th May 6.30pm, hosted by Historic Environment Scotland at the Holyrood Park Education Centre. So if you fancy a summer’s evening stroll to look for these avian acrobats, please email Amber.Jenkins@rspb.org.uk to book your training place.
Now, I’m sure you’re all aware of the Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-18 produced by the Edinburgh Biodiversity Partnership… but just in case you aren’t, I’ll quickly fill you in; it was published in summer, and lists a number of actions that could and should be taken at specific sites to help support biodiversity. Go read it.
Anyway, recently the progress report for the Action Plan was published, and it shows some pretty decent results; 89% of the actions are in progress or completed. Not only has work been done to create meadows and increase grassland, but also encourage wildlife to thrive in the built environment, too. Stuff like using Swift Bricks – fake bricks in the side of buildings that birds can nest in.
Partner organisations gathered to hear speakers from hosts Historic Environment Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Water of Leith Conservation Trust and Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. Despite a cold May wind, a group led by the Historic Environment Scotland Conservation Ranger Matt McCabe, we walked into Holyrood Park to see some of the biodiversity priority species and hear about the important work to protect them.
Exploring Holyrood Park
The new Plan contains over 250 actions and aims to further engage communities and organisations in biodiversity conservation work across the city. Long running valuable conservation and monitoring work on priority habitats and species will continue. New initiatives and projects will be developed, particularly:
Landscape scale habitat projects;
Promoting green infrastructure in the built environment to support placemaking, biodiversity and climate change adaptation;
Citizen science projects linked to pollinator conservation, park naturalisation and Edinburgh Living Landscape; and
Learn more about Edinburgh’s amazing natural world during Edinburgh Biodiversity Week 21-29 May 2016. From Arthur’s Seat to Red Moss Nature Reserve in the Pentlands, we have some very special places for wildlife. Have a look at the programme of events and join us next week, or at other events throughout the year.