Hello, I’m Emma the Community Engagement Officer at RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond. My role here involves quite a mix and keeps me on my toes. Most weekends I’ll be with volunteers at the Nature Hub, running events or taking people on guided walks. I’m also involved in the school work we do here, getting kids outdoors and exploring nature.
I’ve been here for 3 years and so much has happened in that time! I thought for my first blog, that I’d go through a bit of a time line of events leading up to today, with a bit of a focus on my kind of work, getting people closer to nature at Lomond.
2012: RSPB acquired the 237 hectares on south-east corner of Loch Lomond and RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond was born
2013 to present: Surveys, developing knowledge about the site, recruiting staff and volunteers
2014: Portacabin Office is installed. Staff moved from a small room in the farm house to a lovely portacabin that we still work out of today (it’s much cosier than it sounds).
2015: With funding from partners and supporters our access road was completed. This has made a huge impact on the work we do here. We now have a brilliant team of regular volunteers and a visitor car park.
2016: A trailer donated by SNH (Scottish Natural Heritage) was transformed into the Nature Hub. During the first summer it was open, there were no paths, so visitors had to grab their wellies if they wanted to explore the site.
Spring 2017: Two new trails completed in time for bluebell season. Viewpoint path is fully accessible and leads to our Scottish Scenic Routes structure, named Gaels View. It’s the perfect point for looking over the site and has stunning views of the surrounding hills. Airey Woodland trail winds through the alder woodland and out onto a wildflower meadow. It’s stunning in all seasons but when the bluebells are out in May, it is particularly special.
Winter 2017: First winter opening – beautiful but freezing! The hub and trails have been open 7 days a week (weather dependant) and staffed at weekends this winter. Visitors have been enjoying busy feeders, views of snow-capped Ben Lomond and gorgeous walks in the crisp winter sunshine.
2018 onwards: The bright future ahead. Our plans for this year are to install a pond dipping structure with funding from Scottish Power Foundation. All being well this should be ready for the summer season and will open up water wildlife in a whole new way. We’ll keep you posted on the progress! Here’s an artist impression of the design.
Thanks to David Palmar (photoscot.co.uk) and the RSPB Loch Lomond team for the photos!
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