Last week, ministers called in a planning application for a piece of urban green space in Glasgow. The plans were for 90 executive flats and houses on a site in north west Glasgow known as North Kelvin Meadow.
North Kelvin Meadow and the Children's wood, a regenerated birch and ash woodland at the edge of the meadow filled with logs for kids to scramble on and mud for kids to play in, is a busy place, come rain or shine. Almost every day there are local schools and nurseries on the site, and local people come to spend time in the meadow to walk dogs, volunteer, tend to raised bed growing spaces, or to take part in one of the many community events that take place throughout the year. They have over 200 volunteers, a forest school group, an outdoor playgroup, a practical conservation group and an inter-generational project bringing older people from a day-care centre to the site.
Over the past two years, staff from RSPB Scotland have joined local volunteers in delivering events and other activities at the site. The Children's Wood has become a partner in the Glasgow Wildlife Garden Festival and they were a runner up in the Nature of Scotland Awards for best community initiative.
This site may not have eagles and adders, natterjacks or nightjars, curlews or corncrakes, but it has worms and robins and dunnocks and sparrows and it is where people living in city flats can get out and get close to nature.
It is one of many community-run greenspace and garden projects in the city which RSPB Scotland through our Giving Nature a Home in Glasgow project is supporting, where local people are realising the benefits of getting close to nature for themselves, and especially for children and young people.
RSPB Scotland may be more usually associated with the conservation of rare and wonderful species in wild and remote places, but it is only by helping people connect with the nature that is close to where they live that we will encourage people to value nature in the wider countryside. If we don't have places local to us to experience nature; to get stuck in, get muddy, get involved and to see that first snowdrop of spring, then we are the poorer for it. And our planet will be the poorer for it, if our children and grandchildren do not have an experience of nature to give them a fascination for wildlife and to teach them to love and care for our planet in the future.
If you feel strongly about this then you can write to Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Justice and Pensioners Rights to ask him to look carefully at the value of this site for current and future generations when making his decision about what to do next.
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