Many wild plants of the Cairngorms National Park may be under a blanket of snow and those you can see appear dormant, but it has still been a busy time for Plantlife’s Cairngorms Wild Plants project over the last couple of months and I have some exciting news to report.
Since January, I have been compiling some resources that group leaders can use when they are out and about with their groups in the Caledonian pinewoods and Cairngorms Mountains. These resources will be weather proof sets of Keys which will help leaders to share with others these truly amazing habitats that are home to some of our most rare and valuable plant species. If you are a group leader, watch this space for training events on them this summer.
In February, I was delighted to be asked to give a presentation on the Cairngorms Wild Plants at the Anagach Woods Trust AGM. The Trust manages a valuable Caledonian pinewood site near Grantown and this was a great opportunity to identify several actions where Plantlife Flora Guardian volunteers could work with the Trust to conserve their pinewood rare plants.
Looking ahead to the next couple of months, I have been invited to deliver training on Cairngorms Wild Plants at two conferences in March and April. The first is for students of UHI and associated colleges (the UHI 6th Annual Integrated Land Use Conference 2018 Future of the Uplands: A landscape for all) and the second is a workshop (The Importance of the Cairngorms National Park for All Nature) for RSPB staff working in the Cairngorms. Both are excellent opportunities to raise awareness and promote wild plant conservation in the Cairngorms.
I have also been planning training events for Cairngorms Wild Plants Flora Guardians volunteers who signed up last year to the project and more recently at the January Volunteer Cairngorms event at Killiecrankie where I had a volunteer recruitment stall. I am also pleased to be planning another training event for The Mountain and The People apprentices. These training events (led by trainer and botanist, Ben Averis) will help to share knowledge of our mountain wild plants and their conservation needs and will support the plant monitoring work that the Flora Guardians will be carrying out.
If you would like to come along and hear more about opportunities to get involved as a volunteer at Mar Lodge in Deeside in particular, there will be a drop in event (with tea and cake!) held at NTS Mar Lodge on the 19th April from 2pm to 3.30pm. Contact Shaila Rao firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Follow the project on Facebook #CairngormsWildPlants. If you live in the Cairngorms and would like to get involved locally in the project, I would be delighted to hear from you. Contact me on Gwenda.Diack@plantlife.org.uk