- Category: Buchlyvie Wild-life Garden
Throughout 2009, the wildlife garden was continuously used in school projects. The children kept an illustrated diary of the wildlife garden noting the changes through the year. A bat conservationist came to talk to all the children about bats and bat-boxes were made by P5, 6 and 7. In March, three parents from the school went on a willow structure course and built a willow-dome in the playground. One of the parents turned some very large (empty!) whisky barrels into ‘raised beds’ for the children to grow their own vegetables in. In June, we celebrated the achievements of the previous two years with a Buchlyvie Wildlife Celebration, which involved all age groups, particularly children and teenagers.
Activities were designed for having fun while learning about the wildlife garden, improving the habitat and making it more wildlife friendly. In the summer, weekend activities, led by two countryside rangers from Loch Lomond National Park and Stirling Council Countryside Rangers, included pond dipping, mini beast hunt, nature trail treasure hunt and building an insect hibernation house.
In the evening there was a Bat Watch, listening to and identifying bats, led by an ecologist and bat conservationist who lives in Buchlyvie. A lavender hedge of over two hundred plants was also created around the Broch medicinal herb garden.
The Clay Tree Mosaic
This exciting project was led by Alison Borthwick of Buchlyvie Pottery and artist Billy Pretorius, who had created the beautiful mosaic at the front of the school three years previously. The children used local clay which fires to a beautiful terra cotta. They made foot or hand prints and clay prints of a leaf, which were all used to create this tree. It can be seen on the back wall of the school. Footprints formed roots and branches of the tree, while hand and leaf prints were the foliage -all fired in the Pottery. The tree makes an impressive contribution to the building and represents the diversity of people that use the school, medical centre and garden.
Future projects include three information boards, currently being designed and illustrated. One is a map giving an overview of the planting schemes and the other two boards will be for the pond and medicinal herb garden.
A wildflower meadow was sown in April 2009 with species commonly found throughout Scotland. By the summer of 2010, the hard work put in during the previous three years started to show: the wildflower meadow was a blaze of colour, the trees in the woodland grew well and the pond produced a rich diversity of wildlife. A £250 grant from Scottish Natural Heritage enabled us to buy more pond plants, all native species, so next year it should be even better.
Several mothers formed a gardening group and bought a water butt, a mini-green house and five large planters. The children sowed the seeds of sunflowers, herbs, beans, peas and courgettes, which were harvested in the autumn.
Irwin Campbell, who had been the main driving force in the production of the Broch, spent much time in 2010 making steps between two giant stones, to create a path leading up to the football pitch. In the spring of 2010, numerous trays of hedgerow wildflower seeds had been sown and these were planted out around this path in the autumn.
It had been intended to plant lots of bulbs for the spring, but this project was upset by the weather. It will now have to be done as soon as the ice has gone, so, if you’d like to take part in this, please contact Jessica Langford (see below).
The Wild-life Animation
The school received funding from First Light to make an animation film. The project was inspired by the wildlife garden and provided an opportunity for all the children to be involved in making their own animation film.
The children first collected an assortment of berries, leaves, nuts and pine cones from the wildlife garden. Each group then made animals or birds from these items - particularly tiny hedgehogs from the teasel heads! They then created a story about them.
They were shown how to turn their story into an animation. Each picture had to be photographed, the characters moved by a tiny fraction and then photographed again. The final animation would be shown at 24 pictures every second, so it was a slow business to create the complete film.
The first showing of this film was to a packed audience in the Village Hall, who enthusiastically demanded to see an encore performance.
The village gives thanks to all the talented and generous people in Buchlyvie who have given their time and expertise to create the Wildlife Garden. If you would like to be involved and help with planting bulbs, etc., please get in touch.