Its not always an easy life for wildlife inhabiting the river and this was the theme of our first large scale event since 2019.
Family groups joined a trail of enactments and activities where they met some of the river’s characters. Firstly the Slippery Eels which could not swim upstream due to the high weirs blocking their route. After learning about their outlandish life cycle the children helped to weave an eel climbing rope.
Next they visited our Swan family who sadly had grown poorly and sluggish after eating too much white bread. After selecting a ‘good’ treat to feed the swan they helped her make a nest and find her cygnets. Then on to visit the Grumpy Ranger who was despairing at all the discarded dog poo bags and litter there was along the walkway. Ten minutes with the litter picker and our visitors soon had it cleaned up.
At Redhall they were met by the Guardian of the Woodland (pictured above) realm who showed them the damage humans can do to natural spaces and encouraged them to do something positive to help, assisted by Mrs Fox
Then the Butterflies needed help to find native wildflowers and nectar sources and Mother Otter demonstrated the skills needed to catch fish in the river if you were a baby otter.
Next was the Kingfisher, Scientist and Fisherman who explained how important plants, insects, fish and predators are to the food chain of the river, and how humans must be careful about what they put into drains and down toilets.
Finally they met the Beaver who was hoping to make a return to a river from which it was made extinct hundreds of years ago. It was great fun to be back with our volunteers having fun with the public but there is a serious message around all of the activities they took part in.
Creating a functioning ‘nature network’ for Edinburgh has been the focus of a three year project to create thriving greenspaces in our city. It focuses on creating a well-connected, healthy, resilient ecosystem supporting Edinburgh’s wildlife and people. There is now a wonderful map you can explore and a powerful tool that provides a strategic approach to prioritise environmental enhancements and nature-based solutions to tackle the threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. It highlights areas of the city with the highest demand for things like planting trees, which provide the oxygen we breathe, or creating areas of wetland to hold water and reduce flooding. The Trust has contributed extensively to the project. As one of Edinburgh’s key wildlife corridors, the river has a vital role to play. More available online — search Edinburgh Nature Network.
Thank you to Swinthun Crowe and Bryce Morrison for the photos