Tom Cunningham is the reserve manager at Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve.
Here he reflects on the events he had planned at the reserve for the summer of 2013.
It’s been an absolutely brilliant summer, sunshine nearly every day, in fact the loch levels at Morton lochs have dropped, the ground is bone dry and at home I’m watering the garden nearly every evening. The Met Office have declared that July was the second hottest on record in Scotland.
All of which has me asking (in the words of Travis) – “Why does it always rain on me” when we plan and hold our “Events”. Five events so far this year and its rained on four of them at some point on the day.
The four that had a ‘rain encounter’ were:
- John Muir day at Morton Lochs in April
- Five go to Tentsmuir in early July
- The two joint SNH & Forestry Commission events, ‘Junk ‘n Stuff’ and ‘Trees – What can they do for us?’
It was fingers crossed for the last summer event Red Squirrel Day and thank goodness it was ….dry.
This was the first year after purchasing our own marquees; emblazoned with Tentsmuir NNR on the sides. It’s quite a job erecting them but with four of us (although I prefer six on the larger one) and of course someone 6 foot plus (that’s me out) it helps with the top cover.
This year was extra special being the Year of Natural Scotland and we had Artist in Residence Derek Robertson and Poet in Residence Jim Stewart … both of whom had a very busy day, encouraging the kids and some adults to show their skills.
It’s quite an undertaking planning the main Family Day event on Tentsmuir Point. This was our fourteenth annual family day event and every one has been a great success. It is a real team effort and I’m very grateful to my wonderful colleagues in the Cupar SNH office who help out in all sorts of ways and also bring in education leaders.
Booking in the visitors and hiring two coaches to drive them up through the forest to Tentsmuir Point is just one hurdle to get over. Volunteers help on the day and some have been helping us out now for fourteen years. Thinking up something new as a main attraction to star after the first eight or so activities is also a challenge.
The day starts early, we pack the vehicles around 7:15am, and sometimes we don’t finish till 18:30. But it really is worth it just to see happy smiling faces enjoying the great outdoors of Tentsmuir Point.
But ‘hey’ we had great fun, sweated a lot and over 400 kids, mums & dads turned up and enjoyed all our fantastic activities from African drummers, wave action, treasure trails, quizzes, right through to making wooden animals.
Rest assured planning is underway for 2014