The Bog Squad is a Peatland ACTION funded project managed by Butterfly Conservation Scotland that aims to help restore peatland habitats and promote their value as places where wildlife can thrive.
In February the Bog Squad, including Rebecca Crawford, Peatlands for People Officer travelled to Islay to work with the Argyll & the Isles Coast & Countryside Trust. In this blog Rebecca tells us about her time with some of the young people of Islay and why she enjoys working on community engagement and outreach projects for Peatland ACTION.
Islay, ‘The Queen of the Hebrides’
Islay is the southernmost island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland and is often referred to as ‘The Queen of the Hebrides’. The island is steeped in a culture rich in music and storytelling, and a proud and long history of the Scottish Gaelic language. An invitation from the Argyll & the Isles Coast & Countryside Trust as part of the CANN project, and my interest in peatlands and working with communities led me to the island at end of February beginning of March this year.
We had some wonderful sunny weather on Islay (despite the cold and wind). I had a busy week travelling around the island engaging with a range of different groups. This included schools, the Islay Natural History Trust and youth groups such as the Rainbows and Brownie Guides. At Bowmore Primary School I learnt from the Gaelic class the words for peat, butterfly and moth – mòine, dealan-dé and leòmann.
The Brownie Guides were starting to work towards their Wildlife Badge and so I ran a zine-making workshop on a “Peatland Wildlife” theme. A zine is a kind of mini magazine which is self-published and non-commercial. They are made by many writers, artists and creators on a range of themes, interests or passions. They are a great way of getting information out there, can be tailored to any subject and can be easily reproduced with just a photocopier.
As they involve cutting up paper, gluing, drawing and colouring I thought they’d make a fantastic craft for young people too! I designed and drew out a zine on A3 paper where each page had a question or activity to fill out. The girls had to look in books and leaflets to find the answers, and it also opened out into a “outdoor activity page” at the back for future use.
During the session the girls folded the paper into zines and got to fill them in and decorate them with a range of craft materials. They looked really fantastic and colourful by the end. It was a great way for the youngsters to learn about peatlands and research the information themselves whilst also being creative.
Bog Squad allows me to use my creative side to design new activities, materials and events to raise awareness about the importance of peatlands.
I’ll be running zine workshops aimed more at older age groups, including young people and adults, on the topic of peatlands, climate and sustainability. There will be one in Edinburgh on the 22nd of September at the Botanic Cottage in the Royal Botanic Gardens and also one in Glasgow at the Hidden Gardens on the 20th of October. More details will be available on the Butterfly Conservation Scotland Facebook page and the Bog Squad Blog nearer the time.
Fiona Mann, Peatland ACTION Communications Officer said: “The kind of community work that our partners undertake, including that of Rebecca is really important in bringing alive the work that Peatland ACTION is doing. It gives us a greater reach, to an audience that perhaps wouldn’t otherwise know about this amazing habitat and how important it really is to try and protect it.
“I really like the vision of the Argyll & The Isles Coast & Countryside Trust act now, enjoy forever. It’s what Peatland ACTION is doing too! So it’s really wonderful that one of our project officers was invited to work with the Trust and the young people of Islay.”
Deb Baker ACT CANN Support Officer goes on to say: “We greatly appreciate the work of the Bog Squad and local volunteers on Duich Moss; they achieved a great deal during their visit and have helped us towards one of the CANN project targets. We look forward to working with The Bog Squad again in future.”
Find out more in the following links:
For any enquiries about peatland outreach – events, workshops, talks etc – please get in touch with Rebecca at email@example.com or visit the Butterfly Conservation Scotland Facebook page for regular updates.
The Bog Squad also undertake practical conservation work on peat bogs, read about the work the project officer and volunteers did on Islay in their blog
Find out about the amazing work the Argyll & The Isles Coast & Countryside Trust are doing to protect and care for their local environment
Follow the work Deb Baker is doing on Twitter @theCANNproject
If you would like to contribute to the on-going work of Peatland ACTION, we would like to hear from you. For further details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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