Caerlaverock litter-clearing

Our NatureScot student placement scheme provides great opportunities for recent graduates to get invaluable work experience that puts their new skills into practice.

In his second post about the work of a National Nature Reserve assistant, Countryside Management graduate Fraser Wilson reports on what is, very sadly, an increasingly necessary task on our reserves – clearing litter…

As much as Caerlaverock is a beautiful National Nature Reserve, a downside to being a coastal reserve is that some of the larger tides from the Solway Firth can wash up all sorts of rubbish on to the merse. A job that is always on the to-do list is to regularly keep on top of this rubbish and get it off the reserve.

As we recently had a skip dropped off at our nearby workshop we got to work, walking miles up and down the reserve finding and collecting bundles of rubbish before getting it all to one area to load on to the trailer and off the reserve. Unfortunately with the sensitivity of the reserve, and with breeding birds due to nest any day now, we couldn’t make use of any machinery which would disturb the site and so all of what we found would have to be removed manually.

The photos show just a very small sample of what we’ve collected over the last few weeks. The most common items seem to be large plastic drums and plastic tubs.

As much as it is time consuming, and sometimes difficult to get out to some areas of the reserve to access this rubbish, it is one of those jobs I like to do as it has an immediate impact, helping remove items which look unsightly and which serve no positive purpose by being there.

All of the items have been sent off for recycling and hopefully don’t find their way back to the reserve. Going forward, we plan to keep doing litter picks of smaller items as much as we can, and then will remove larger items as and when they appear.

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