On Friday 15 June, Scotland’s first ever Pollinator Trail opened at Whitmuir Farm in the Scottish Borders. Neville Makan, local SNH Operations Officer, tells us about the launch of the trail and why pollinators are so important.
We recently worked with the Whitmuir Community Benefit Society to create the first Pollinator Trail in Scotland, to raise awareness of why pollinating insects are important to our food supply. The WCBS, which runs educational activities at Whitmuir Farm, worked with local pupils at Newlands and West Linton Primary Schools and Beeslack Community High School to design interactive displays along the trail; we funded their design, production, and installation.
The trail teaches visitors about different pollinating insects like bees, moths, and beetles. It describes how many plants crucial to Scotland’s food and farming industries, such as oilseed rape, raspberries, strawberries, and beans, rely on pollination and shows how we can support pollinators by protecting and creating their habitats. The displays along the trail are multi-sensory, including audio files recorded by the children and insect-specific flowering plants at each of the displays.
Marcel Kaljee, Principal Teacher at Newlands Primary School, said: “The P6s at Newlands Primary School had a wonderful time working with Whitmuir to develop content and record audio for the installations along the trail. Whitmuir has been a very valuable community learning partner for us. The experience has been a great opportunity for the children in our school to take their education outdoors and bring learning to life.”
The launch of the trail was a lot of fun – Jim Jeffrey, manager of our national Pollinator Strategy, came with me and we both enjoyed meeting some of the pupils involved in designing the trail displays. After walking the trail, we got to enjoy a “pollinator lunch” at the farm café with food made possible by pollination, including a pumpkin salad and tomato soup!
Whitmuir Farm is in Lamancha, on the A701, 4 miles south of the Leadburn Inn and 2 miles north of West Linton. Whitmuir is an open farm – everyone is welcome to visit, walk, learn, play, shop and enjoy very good food.