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Tuesday
Sep112018

Friends of Easter Craiglockhart Hill are recruiting

The Friends of Easter Craiglockhart Hill are about to take a big step forward. Thanks to a grant from the Big Lottery, they will be appointing a part-time Community Engagement Worker this autumn.
This worker will recruit and lead volunteers, involve local people in events and activities and improve learning, access and inclusion. Full details of the post and the application process are on thier  website -www.eastercraiglockharthill.org.
The closing date for applications is Friday 28th September.

 

Tuesday
Aug212018

The Great Water of Leith Duck Race 16th Sept - Ducks are on Sale NOW

We are very excited..... less than 4 weeks to go until our Duck Race. We have been donated some fabulous prizes, tickets and fliers printed and duck are getting sorted. You can buy your tickets/ducks now from the Visitor Centre or online through the DONATE page of our website - simply click on this link  http://www.waterofleith.org.uk/donate/ to be taken to our donate page, follow the instructions to pay via paypal or by card (make sure you check the box to share you email with us - and we will email you back with your Duck Number) Or your can simply come along on the Day - the fun starts at 2.00pm races from 3.00pm

Prizes are as follows:

 

1st Prize – Michelin starred Lunch for Two at Restaurant Martin Wishart
2nd Prize – Family ticket and lunch on deck of the Royal Yacht Britannia
3rd Prize -  £50 for the ‘Orchard’  Canonmills
4th Prize –  Pizza Express voucher - Stockbridge
Plus many more foodie prizes from along the Water of Leith, including
China Red, Chesser lunch for 2
Imperial Palace, Longstone £20
Water of Leith Cafe Bistro, Canonmills £20
Cafe on the Corner, Currie  £20
Java Moment Cafe Colinton  £10

 

Tuesday
Aug212018

As schools across Scotland go back Ruth, our Education Officer, writes about 'What it is to be ready for Outdoor Learning'

Preparing Classes for Learning Outside—Beyond the Risk Assessment
Practitioner Tips for Successful Outdoor Learning
By Ruth Prince, Education Officer for the Water of Leith Conservation Trust
Last May, I attended an outdoor mindfulness workshop at the Learning for Sustainability Conference in Edinburgh. All delegates had been asked to pick three workshops: I work outside myself so it made sense to choose an outdoor option; and since it was a Friday, mindfulness seemed the perfect way to wind down for the weekend. And yet, when each of us was asked to report back upon an exercise of meditating outdoors, I was squirming with discomfort. While others reported back on the soft breeze against their cheeks and the scents of the damp grassland, I had found myself thinking of what I wanted to cook for tea, of whether a yoga class might help me comfortably sit cross-legged, and of the history of the buildings around me. I had nothing of note to report back to the group and in my nothingness I had also become a little bit grumpy.
And that’s when the learning for me happened. I love the outdoors, which is one of the reasons why I work outdoors. When I take a class through the woods and into the river I hope that they’ll enjoy this great adventure out of the classroom. And many of them do. But for some, especially urban children who have not spent much time outdoors, the unfamiliarity can be discomforting and disturbing. Sometimes even a little scary. And then, just like me on my mindfulness course, they are too distracted to learn.
Here are a few tips to make sure everyone in your class benefits as much as possible from outdoor learning:
Model a positive outlook. While some class teachers will always be more interested and confident outdoors than others, classes respond best when their teachers are engaged in the activity. Seeing their teacher wrapped up warm clothes, in sturdy footwear, and enjoying learning outside with a positive outlook and enthusiasm encourages pupils to do the same. 
Outdoor learning in Scotland can be cold, in either November or June. The air temperature is often colder in wooded areas even within urban areas. If you’re not warm, you’re not comfortable and if you’re not comfortable then you’re probably not learning much either. While outdoor learning is active, there’ll always be times when the class will need to stand still to listen and it can be very chilly standing in the shaded woods. 
But many of the pupils in some classes will have little to no experience of woodlands, or even windy beaches. So asking children to come dressed appropriately for the weather can be asking them to prepare for something outside of their or their parents’ experience. So I tell pupils to imagine standing at the bus stop for a bus that doesn’t come. They are wearing a T-shirt and they’re standing on the shaded side of the street. How do they feel? What clothes did they wish they had brought? It begins to rain and their feet get wet.  What did they wish they’d brought to put on their feet? A car splashes a big puddle onto their new jeans. What old clothes do they wish they were wearing? Have them add the layers until they are bundled up warm and waterproofed. Tell them then that that’s what they need to wear for outdoor learning. 
Preparing secondary school classes holds many of the same challenges, and more. Many teenagers prize style above practicality. However, the right gear rarely includes outdoor or waterproof clothing. At the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, for field trips to the Pentlands in winter we now have a zero tolerance. Pupils who come inappropriately dressed will not be allowed off the bus. The risk of exposure in the hills is too great. For outdoor learning in green spaces in the city and closer to their schools, teenagers need to feel in control of their wardrobe. The one wardrobe essential they all have and which they don’t mind wearing is a hoodie. While not ideal in wet weather, hoodies are warm and for teenagers who are not prepared to wear a hat, a hood is at least one layer of protection in cold or drizzle.
Be prepared for class dynamics to change. Pupils who are restless and disruptive in the classroom can sometimes find themselves in their element outdoors. This can be their opportunity to shine. Give them added leadership roles, ask them to carry the equipment and have the class listen to their expertise on fishing or building shelters. Pupils who are less physically confident  can be nervous and out of their comfort zone. But gentle encouragement and empathy can help their confidence grow.
Talking through these issues with your class, brainstorming ways with them to keep warm and dry outside and showing them pictures of where they are going helps pupils prepare for the day. Perhaps they will decide to bring a woolly hat or a pair of gloves that make all the difference to their comfort. Perhaps they will look at the pictures of the woodland or shore line you are visiting and get excited that they are travelling beyond their local park. And hopefully, on the day, all this will help them to be comfortable, confident and ready to learn in the outdoors.

 

 

Tuesday
Aug212018

Another walkway closure as bridge work starts at St Mark Park - pedestrian diversion in place 

 

Bridge Closure at St Mark Park / Warriston Road 21st August for 24 weeks
Due to urgent bridge repair this small section of the walkway will be closed be between 7.00 and 18.00  Mondays to Saturdays. Due to the narrow width of the bridge, the location and the nature of the proposed works, it is necessary to close the road at the bridge and stop pedestrian access. A local signed diversion will be in place. We are unsure if walking will be allowed out with working hours.
CLICK ON ME for a full list of all the walkway diversions at Saughton, Dean, Warriston and Bonnington

 

Friday
Aug102018

Wonderful illustrations of our volunteers in action by our own volunteer Rob - thank you for letting us share them

Rob Hainsworth has been volunteering with us for years and could be occasionally be spotted sketching away. This week he shared the results with us and we just love them - so atmospheric and full of energy, capturing the spirit of working by the river and how the passers by watch our efforts. Below Rob has written a few word about what prompted him to illustrate our work.

 

   

'As a 17 year old country lad I went to art college in Edinburgh for almost a whole year before dropping out... distracted by "sex drugs and rock and roll.....  It was the 60s...I've been intending to do some illustration for a while, inspired by my eldest daughter, an artist who recently had a couple of graphic novels published. I last did some illustration about 40 years ago but didn't then have a story to turn into comic strip and was trying and failing to make up one of my own... Then life got in the way until recently, when I was looking for more engaging activity at home. I researched and illustrated "The Famous Tay Whale" by William McGonagall... A fascinating story but a poem so bad that my artwork couldn't spoil it... A very successful try out of any skill I still had. 
After that I was looking for at various possible subjects to illustrate and it occurred to me that Water of Leith volunteers worked in some very photogenic and often quite dramatic work settings... I particularly like the way that volunteers sometimes almost disappear into foliage and sometimes group together to give an intense focus. 
I also like to show "Life going on" (ie. Water of Leith footpath users.. walkers, cyclists, dogs, etc.). I'm intending to do the most recognisable locations and to show all our different activities. I want to get more wildlife into the illustrations.' by Rob Hainsworth