The Friends group are involved in activities that help to look after the park, such as monthly burn clean-ups, Himalayan Balsam clearing, wild flower planting and bird and bat box installation and maintenance.
Friends activities take place every month and are usually held on the second Saturday of every month starting at 10am.
We regularly arrange nature walks and events as well.
The group also produces a regular eNewsletter. Please follow us on Facebook and twitter as well for more information about all the activities in the park. Despite being a small group we have one of the most active Friends groups, and we are working hard to make the park one of Edinburgh's finest green spaces even better.
The Friends group carries out monthly activities and these take place on the second Saturday of each month and generally last around a couple of hours. Our volunteers are trained top provide appropriate advice and guidance to everyone taking part and that can include health and safety information. Generally all that is needed is a bit of common sense and appropriate clothing for the weather. These are just three highlights from our activity programme and if you'd like any more information abour the Friends activities just get in touch. Our activities are carefully planned to improve the park for it's human and animal visitors, so your efforts will make a real difference.
Project 1. Wildlife BioBlitz
In 2016 we had one of our most ambitious event programmes ever with a year long quest to mprove our knowledge of the park's wildlife and record as many of the species in a park that is one of Edinburgh's six nature reserves. We started with a list of 355 species and volunteers and specialists worked throughout the year with surveys and studies in all areas of the park.
In total 55 new species were discovered taking the total to 410 known plant and animal species including protectes species like the Otter and Kingfisher. Discovered were some interesting ones that included the cuckoo bee, the hugely impressive elephant hawk moth (pictured) and the buzzard which can be seen soaring over the dip at Burdiehouse. The BioBlitz was a fantastic success and work to identify new species continues.
Project 2. Annual Spring Clean Up
We've now had two very successful annual spring clean ups. These events have been targeted to give the park a 'spring clean' ahead of the warm weather when the park gets busier. They take place at that time of year because the foliage is low and it's much easier to get access to the litter.
Litter and dog fouling are the two biggest challenges we face and unfortunately we will need to continue with these major events for the foreseeable future. The events have been supported by corporate volunters that have included Standard Life staff, council cleansing and Natural Heritage Officers and an array of local volunteers young and old. We've reduced the number of clean ups to focus opn othe activities, but tackling litter remains a committment.
Project 3. Willow Weaving
Willow Weaving doesnt perhaps conjure up images of hard work, but this is one of the most physical activities we do. It is about protecting the pathways from burn bank erosion which has been a major issue throughout the park.
What happens is that willow is harvested (or bought) and a wall is weaved at the side of the burn. Stones and earth are used to fill in behind the willow wall. Cuttings of willow, which has an extensive root system, are then planted in the 'new bank' and the roots of the willow help protect against erosion. It's made a big difference at Ellen's Glen and at Burdiehouse (pictured thanks to the Edinburgh Evening News).
Get involved and you too can see how small a small group can make a big difference to a fantastic park and nature reserve