Laura Reilly is a major driving force behind Inverclydebuzz, and when the Pollinator Strategy for Scotland was launched last July she and her team were already able to demonstrate a pro-active approach to improving the lot of our pollinators.
Their latest success was persuading Inverclyde Council to hand over the site of the old Hector McNeil Memorial Baths to Inverclydebuzz. The site has lain empty for around two decades now, and it will be transformed into an urban meadow which will ultimately offer much-needed food and shelter to bees, butterflies and other invertebrates.
It won’t be the first time the group has transformed an urban area and brought it back into use. The former baths site will join three others sites in the Renfrewshire area – the former King’s Glen School in Kilmacolm Road, Blairmore Crescent, and Belville Street – which collectively form part of the ambitious Inverclyde Pollinator Corridor.
The Belville Biodiversity Garden opened in the summer of 2017 and offers wild flowers and a fantastic urban green environment. It sits not far from a well-known Greenock urban landmark – Morton’s Cappielow Park.
The site of the former King’s Glen School lies in Kilmacolm and is a ‘temporary’ mini meadow where yellow rattle, red clover and knapweed combine to offer pollinators a super resource. The site has a life beyond its immediate environment too – for the aim is to use it to provide the seeds to reseed other sites. This is being done by using green hay, a process where a meadow is cut in late summer and the cuttings are themselves spread on another site to distribute seeds.
Not far from Kilmacolm Road in Greenock lies Blairmore Crescent with commanding views out over the River Clyde. Here Inverclyde Council maintain a wooded site that had seen wild flowers sown amidst trees to create helpful butterfly and bee glades.
Clearly the success of Inverclydebuzz is built on solid teamwork. The Inverclyde group draws together enthusiasts from all walks of life. In the group you will find beekeepers, local gardeners, local environmentalists and people who simply care about invertebrates and the vital pollination service they provide, not to mention the colour and spectacle they bring.
Two partner organisations lend their weight to Inverclydebuzz – The Conservation Volunteers and The Urban Butterfly Project (which is part of the Butterfly Conservation Trust). So it really is a case of many hands making light work.
It’s the ability to connect people and nature that has made Inverclydebuzz such a hit. They are great advocates of the benefits of getting out and about and close up to nature. Their popular leaflet ‘A wee walk on the wild side’ highlights a range of easy family walks and the stunning nature you can expect to see en route. As well as being a great way to encourage tomorrow’s environmentalists, their work offers much-needed health and well-being opportunities today. The idea, like so many good ideas, was relatively simple; to connect people back to nature by letting them know what is on their doorstep, and to encourage them to take full advantage of the fantastic greenspaces in the area around them.
A commitment to improvement has made Inverclydebuzz such a great example for improving urban areas. On this evidence people and pollinators have a lot to thank the group for.
Follow Laura’s work in Inverclyde on facebook
Visit the Inverclyde Pollinator Corridor project website
Read the Pollinator Strategy for Scotland
Images courtesy of Laura Reilly, Inverclydebuzz