Friday, 27 June 2014

Big business vs. the bee-killing ban

Sign the petition
Bee-killing pesticides are banned in Europe, but a giant chemical company has just asked the UK government for emergency permission to treat seeds for nearly two hundred thousand hectares of land with powerful insecticides covered by the ban.

Syngenta want farmers to use neonicotinoid pesticides on the UK's rape crop, despite an EU-wide ban introduced after research showed they were partly responsible for the collapse in bee populations. So they've asked DEFRA, the UK environment ministry to approve 'emergency use', creating a loophole that spells disaster for plans to protect our bees. Time is tight -- the decision could be made within days. Let's call on DEFRA to reject the application and protect Britain's bees.

Syngenta's application comes just a day after an international scientific review found 'clear evidence of harm' caused by neonicontoids to bees, confirming the findings of previous studies. But we can stop Syngenta's bee-killing business model getting back into Britain. Sign here to say no to Syngenta, spread the word, and help save our bees:

Friday, 20 June 2014

Work begins on the Wildlife area

Work began today on the wildlife/nature area (we need a name for this project!).

The area in question is the wooded part behind the wall, in between the gates. 

The section closest to the main gate is wilder, untamed and we plan to leave it so.

However, further up the hill, where it isn't so dense or overgrown, there are parts where paths of a sort, have already been made and it is this area that we want to develop.

It was nice and shady in the wood which was just as well as it was hard work! 

Nettles are shoulder height and several of the volunteers this morning got stung.

Our biggest obstacle was clearing the ivy that smothered everything and removing the litter from the site. 

Like Wombles, we try to make use of the things that we find but even our most imaginative workers couldn't think of a creative reuse for the endless amounts of crisp packets, golf balls and broken bottles!   We will, hopefully, be able to use the old chair frame that we found!

When you venture into the wood (and we really recommend you do, it's lovely!) you happen upon a clearing which would make a lovely storytelling circle.

There are already lots of rotting tree stumps which would be make a perfect minibeast area (and where we would site the magnifying post that the Civic Pride award has funded).

This morning's helpers were Carole, Emma, Gillian, Jan and four LDS missionaries.  It was great to chat and hear the ideas for the space (willow dens, storytelling chair, reading corners, trails, fairy doors, bug hotels, bird boxes, dry river bed etc etc)!

This is such an exciting project to be involved in and it has lots of scope for spin-off projects.  We would love to hear from anyone who wants to be be involved in any way! 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Friday, 13 June 2014

Poppy Seed Sowing

Fiona O'Donnell, MP and Iain Gray, MSP, joined Cuthill Park volunteers this morning in planting poppy seeds to encourage others to sow seeds and cover the UK in poppies to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

We sowed the seeds around the border of the existing wildflower bed at the western edge of the park where, hopefully, they will be in bloom by August 4th, the date that war was declared 100 years ago. 

Friends Chairman, Zoe Inglis, said:
“The Centenary Poppy Campaign is a great cause which Friends of Cuthill Park are very pleased to help support. We are working hard to rejuvenate the park for the benefit of the whole community and sowing poppies to mark the Centenary is a really positive thing to do here. I hope that local residents will get behind the campaign and help mark the Centenary with us.”
The public can buy the Royal British Legion poppy seeds at B&Q stores nationwide, with a £1 donation going to the work of the Legion.

Civic Pride Funding

We are delighted to announce that The Friends of Cuthill Park have been successful in their bid for Civic Pride funding from East Lothian Council.

Our application was to support a project to encourage visitors to stay longer in the park, make return visits and explore the area further.

To meet these objectives we plan to:
  • Install a weatherproof, lockable post-mounted noticeboard displaying park information
  • Site a free-to-use telescope at a vantage point within the park.
  • Create a woodland nature trail with minibeast exploration zone, native woodland planting and family picnic areas
  • Purchase a key Store
  • Purchase a windsock
We chose these items based on the responses received from the survey, and also the needs of the community groups using the park, while being careful not to duplicate anything in the design brief for play/fitness equipment and within the constraints of the limited (<£5k) funds available.

In particular, we were mindful of these comments received:
It would be nice to have an area that can be used by all ages and for a variety of purposes. That offers something that doesn't already exist elsewhere in Prestonpans.”

wasn't sure if it was a public park or not”.

its a beautiful park and think it should be enticing to all especially for picnics etc”

Benefits it will bring to the local environment

In general terms, the longer time people spend in the park, the less opportunities there are for vandalism, anti-social behaviour and dog fouling. In turn, this will encourage people to visit the park who have not previously done so.

These additional facilities will enhance the natural setting and biodiversity of the park, improve the visitor experience and firmly establish Cuthill Park as a public park to be proud of.

Specifically, the addition of a quality noticeboard at the entrance to the park will give the park a much-needed sense of identity and emphasises that the park is a vibrant and valued place within the community.

The siting of a telescope celebrates the unique features of the park while making the most of the beautiful views across the Forth and instills a greater appreciation for the area. Additionally a telescope offers potential for nature watching and star gazing and reaffirms Cuthill Park as a destination unlike any other in the area.

The creation of woodland nature trail will greatly improve a currently under-utilised area, increase biodiversity in the park and foster a greater respect and understanding of the flora and fauna of the park.

The purchase of a key store will allow community groups to use the storage container and other secure areas (e.g. Noticeboard) without the need for key-holders to be present or to have multiple sets of keys cut. This also has the benefit of being many groups being able to share equipment rather than transport it to the park.

The purchase of a wind sock (to be stored in container and brought out on work days) will be a visual reminder that work is taking place in the community garden, can act as a landmark and meeting point and encourage people to venture further into the park.

This is a very exciting time for Cuthill Park and we would greatly appreciate help in progressing our plans.