The First Six: A Project Milestone Update From The Cairngorms

Gwenda Diack

Gwenda Diack

Cairngorms Wild Plants Project Officer

25th August 2017

Corrie Kander

Last week, as I was heading back down Glen Callater, home to one of our rarest arctic-alpines, the Alpine blue-sow-thistle (Cicerbita alpina), I reflected on the progress that has been made in the first six months of my project.

I wanted to share with you some of the highlights from this milestone period.

  • The volunteer recruitment got off to a flying start with the first two recruitment days delivered at Volunteer Cairngorms events, the first four flora guardians recruited and trained with several more enquiries followed up.
  • Volunteers helped deliver five public events: ‘A Cocktail of Cairngorm Wild Plants’ (Glen Tanar), ‘It’s Not Just About The Trees’ (Carrbridge), ‘Jewels of the Caledonian Pinewoods’ (Grantown) and Plantlife stalls at the Volunteer Cairngorms event (Boat of Garten and Braemar). The events were a great way to promote Cairngorms Wild Plants with several more people enquiring about volunteering with the project and several key contacts made.
  • Two sites have been the focus of plant monitoring by Flora Guardian volunteers: Curr Wood and Old Grantown Woods. For these lovely pinewoods, Flora Guardians have been monitoring the rare plants, one-flowered wintergreen Moneses uniflora and twinflower Linnaea borealis.
  • In Curr Wood, I met with the land manager and contractors prior to forestry operations to advise them on how best to conserve twinflower and with the help of several volunteers, exclusion areas were then marked up so that patches of twinflower could be avoided by the contractors during tree thinning.
  • Another project activity progressed was the Cairngorm Wild Plants training programme with the first two days planned. These first two events were developed in partnership with the Mountains &The People project for their land manager apprentices and their adopt-a-path and conservation volunteers and I was delighted when Ben Averis agreed to being the trainer.
  • Also, I was able to go along to the Annual Ranger Gathering event to introduce the project and through that event, have had ten ranger services come forward looking to get involved. I have since met up with the Atholl Estates ranger service and the Glen Tanar ranger service to explore how we can work collaboratively to conserve Cairngorms wild plants.
  • I am happy to reflect that through all these different strands of the project, Plantlife Scotland managed to reach 86 people so far in person in the first six months and through social media, so many more. Already, two sites have benefited from the Cairngorms Wild Plants project. A good sign for things to come!

    Look out for more updates of Cairngorms Wild Plants on the project webpage, and on Facebook and Twitter. Want to get involved? Contact me Gwenda.diack@plantlife.org.uk for more information.

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