Environmental Management Volunteer Day
On Thursday 25th June the Environmental Management Team and a group of volunteers from the Scottish Government held a Cycle Path Clean-Up in conjunction with Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT).
Our volunteer day was organised by Chris McGhee of the Environmental Management Team and led by Greenspaces Community project officer Esperanza Martin Gil. There were twelve of us, mostly current Environmental Champions or people who were interested in signing up to the network. Tools, plants and Espe’s guidance were all provided by the Greenspaces Trust.
ELGT have many projects on the go in terms of greenspace improvement, ranging from Carberry to Cramond Island. We spent the day making our mark on an ongoing project at Fiveways Junction on the North Edinburgh Path Network. This was formerly a key railway junction where three lines met and is now used as a meeting place and site for events and activities. When the Greenspace Trust began working at Fiveways it was essentially just sections of worn grass between tarmac paths, with the banks full of nettles and thistles.
We spent the morning preparing the area – picking up litter, pruning trees and pulling up an assortment of thistles, nettles and Himalayan Balsam, all the time being wary of the many frogs and snails! The rain came on in the afternoon but it didn’t stop us. After sheltering under a tree for a break with cups of coffee, tea or hot chocolate to warm our hands, we got back to work. Preparing the ground for planting was a hard job as the site is a former railway and the soil was extremely rocky. Eventually we began planting and got a dozen gooseberry, redcurrant, blackcurrant and blueberry bushes in the ground. We also sowed poppy seeds around the border of the new circular wall which will hopefully brighten up the junction.
By the end of the day everyone was soaked through, muddy and some were nursing hands full of thistle prickles. Despite this, we were still smiling and shared a definite sense of accomplishment. It would be interesting to visit the site in a few weeks time to see the progress – hopefully blooming poppies and berries on the bushes.
ELGT run environmental and community projects to conserve landscape and heritage while benefiting local people and wildlife. The Greenspace Trust was established in 1991 as the Edinburgh Green Belt Trust. The change of name in 2006 reflects the fact that as well as working with the green belt countryside, the organisation also works to create and improve other urban greenspace, whether this be woodlands, parks, cycle paths or even school grounds. The Greenspace Trust run a range of community engagement services including guided walks, conservation volunteering, Forest Schools activities and fitness sessions.
Check out how you can get involved with the Greenspace Trust through their website, including tips on how to improve your own greenspace, whether big or small.