Bio boosting the local park

Bio boosting the local park

By Col Stocker>

Langside Sports Club is a new SCO providing opportunities for people to take part in sport and other outdoor activities based at Albert Park in Glasgow, a 10-acre Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). They were looking for help to start-up a BIO (Being Involved Outdoors) Group in the park to take an action-based approach at conserving it by re-wilding parts, re-wilding parts of the park by planting new trees and plants, and introducing habitats for new wildlife. In order to do this they needed to resource their band of eager volunteers and be as inclusive as possible! to take on environmental projects that would increase biodiversity within the park. The group will allow people to enjoy the outdoors, learn new skills and make new friends whilst carrying out nature conservation work.

It was of course wonderful to be able to help them get started and receiving feedback from Nancy at the LSC BIO Group. it’s even more special to hear that this award has been used as seed funding for their BIO project which had the aims of

1. Growing our volunteer group from within the club and also the local community, both of which has been done – we now have 25 volunteers from across the club and local community. Local volunteers have been keen to make a difference to a greenspace many have known since childhood.
2. We planned to re-wild the park and build habitats for wildlife and again we have done this and have plans to do more. We are planning more native hedging and to continue building our habitat hedging also planting more pollinator friendly wildflowers.
3. Develop relationships with schools. The Club have opened up opportunities for local primary schools as part of a Community Sports Hub Schools Programme. Children have had a chance to see first-hand the bio-diversity work we have been doing. We are planning to involve the local primary school children with the planting of our orchard and native hedgerow in the autumn and to work with the local Brownie Group building Hoverfly Lagoons.

Jane is one of the volunteers who has been working on the project.
"The Biodiversity group has been a really positive venture for me. I've learnt things: which plants are good for pollinators, how to develop a wildflower meadow, different ways of composting and plant identification skills. I've got to know local people, talked about the project with folk as I've worked by the pavement or pushed my wheelbarrow down the road, and had an enthusiastic response from those who appreciate Albert Park as their local green space. And I've made new friends, and managed to keep sane during Covid thanks to working outdoors with others."

It’s obvious that they have been working incredibly hard too, planting native hedging, clearing an overgrown walkway, building a composting area, starting to build a habitat hedge, planting native woodland bulbs (snow drops and English Bluebells), tackling Giant Hogweed (non-native invasive species) on the riverbank, greening the hard spaces around the buildings in the park with planters filled with plants encouraging pollinators and preparing an area for a community orchard, hopefully for planting this Autumn. They even introduced 3 rescue hoglets (young hedgehogs, now resident in the park!

“The wider club has benefited from the noticeable increase in colour and BIO activity around The Park and they have recruited new volunteers from both the club and the local community - giving them a strong team committed to continuing the work of the BIO (Be involved Outdoors) Group. “Some of the volunteers are now diversifying into upcycling pallets for outdoor benches and the group has managed to influence the Club to change The Constitution with more of an emphasis on the environment and sustainability. “… to restore and protect the natural and built environment of Albert Park.” - Extract from Langside Sports Club (SCIO) constitution”

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