Over the last week or so, in addition to number crunching chez desk in Leith, I was out and about with work.
On Friday last, I attended the first 'wild day' of the year at Glenlude in the borders. These are basically open days for John Muir Trust members, to allow supporters to ask questions and find out more about why and how our Land Staff do what they do. Its also a bit of a perk of membership (as well as being a perk of working for the Trust!)
We toured the estate, and heard from rangers Karen and Sandy about plans for restoration. Glenlude is the most recent acquisition for the Trust and is unusual in that it contains a lot of commercial forestry. The estate was left as a bequest, and offers the chance to gradually recolonise with native woodland, and encourage more wildlife back into the area. If documented properly, this model could then be extended elsewhere.
The area won't be clear felled - the sitka spruce will eventually have some commercial value and it would be foolish (not to mention pretty un-environmentally friendly!) to squander that. Instead, it will be 'feathered' over the next 25 years, and slowly replaced with larch, willow and other natives. This means a woodland with varied height and character, something that might approach 'natural' in years to come. Grazing is being controlled and already this means ground nesting birds are back in force and young trees are taking hold. There is a black grouse lek on the open hill at the west of the estate. All this takes time, lots of it - there are no quick fixes in conservation.
Saturday a week ago saw me volunteering at the Outdoors Show in Edinburgh, one of the team speaking to interested passers by at the fayre. People seem genuinely interested, in particular in the issues around energy and education. If you stopped by, thanks for your questions and taking the time. The tide is turning, and a connection to nature and how we educate ourselves and future generations about our environment no longer feels like a voice in the wilderness (sorry, pun alert), but more and more like common currency, something we all share. Come on in, the waters lovely!