The Come Forth for Wildlife project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and a range of co-funders, has now come to a close after a fantastic four years from 2019 – 2023. A huge thank you to all those involved in the project from volunteers, partner organisations and of course our funders helping to make the project become reality. Come Forth for Wildlife met or exceeded all of it’s targets in this time and you can see all about each of them below!
Come Forth for Wildlife worked throughout the Forth Valley (Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire) developing connections to conserve and enhance the unique heritage the area offers. This was achieved by creating inter-connected habitats for amphibians, reptiles and other wildlife. The project enabled all sectors of the community to develop connections with the natural heritage of the Forth Valley region through the activities delivered.
You can also see more detail on the Come Forth for Wildlife project in our report here.
Following the success of our ‘Dragons in your Garden’ workshops across Scotland – our Wildlife Gardening Workshops enhanced and continued this format. We worked to offer therapeutic gardens, allotments and community gardens workshops to share skills on wildlife gardening and create wildlife-friendly features at the gardens / allotments themselves. These interactive workshops had an amphibian and reptile focus – while we ran regular sessions with adults with physical / learning difficulties at therapeutic garden centres. Sixty Wildlife Gardening Workshops were run with 825 attendees over the course of the project. You can see more on the workshops here.
Many of us have gardens or local greenspaces that we could make more wildlife friendly and our Pop-up Wildlife Gardening Workshops engaged with people from all walks of life offering tips, skills and techniques to create wildlife-friendly gardens. These pop-up workshops took place in busy centres throughout the Forth Valley so anyone could join in with activities in whatever time they had available – learning what they can do to help their local wildlife. Twelve Pop-up Wildlife Gardening Workshops were held with 1,635 in attendance overall.
Our gardens make up a valuable resource for wildlife, even more so as many wild areas and green spaces are lost to factors such as development. Wildlife-friendly gardens can provide vital habitat links for our species especially if they connect to country parks and nature reserves. Our Neighbourhood Wildlife Corridors engaged neighbourhoods in Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire – supporting local residents in creating wildlife-friendly gardens and green spaces close to them. Come Forth for Wildlife’s activities ran throughout these neighbourhoods and with the Neighbourhood Wildlife Corridors booklet on offer helping residents learn how to become a Garden Guardian! Over 8 Neighbourhood Wildlife Corridors, 29,008 people were engaged between 2019 – 2023. See more on the activity here.
As part of the Neighbourhood Wildlife Corridors promotions we launched our Wildlife Pond Visualiser App, helping your garden become more wildlife-friendly! This is still available – click here for more information!
The Mapestry worked with communities across the Forth Valley to create a map tapestry depicting the heritage of the Forth Valley. 12 groups / venues have created their visions and images of heritage in the Forth Valley – wildlife, local landscapes and attractions which are important to them. Twenty-five Mapestry sessions were held with 813 participants. Learn more about the Mapestry here.
Following the creation of the 12 Mapestry panels in 2020 / 2021 the Mapestry went on tour! The Mapestry Tour took place between December 2021-June 2023 – you can see more on the tour venues here! The Mapestry Tour visited 19 venues in the Forth Valley engaging with 156, 471 visitors. Following the tour, Mapestry panels have found long-term homes across several venues in the Forth Valley for display. You can see a video of all 19 Mapestry Tour venues here.
Training Courses were held throughout the region to focus on two topics; amphibian and reptile survey methods & ecology and habitat management for reptiles and amphibians. These courses offered in-depth knowledge and techniques on each topic – featuring theoretical and practical elements. By sharing these skills with landowners, site managers and grounds maintenance staff we can increase knowledge of our amphibians and reptiles and how to manage habitat for their benefit. Twenty-two Training Courses were held on the Come Forth for Wildlife project with 294 participants trained in skills. To see more on the Training Courses click here.
Our Pond Doctor events were developed from experience and feedback from numerous events – where we identified that our staff’s knowledge of pond creation and maintenance is sought after by the public attending events throughout Scotland. With this in mind our Pond Doctor events were set-up at busy venues throughout the Forth Valley to offer expertise on pond creation and management with staff on hand to answer specific questions anyone may have had about ponds. Forty-four Pond Doctor events occurred offering pond advice to 5,401 people.
An exciting, novel activity new to Froglife were our Virtual Reality Exhibitions. These allowed people the chance to experience the dangers of road crossings through the eyes of a toad and find out more about wildlife tunnels. We visited busy events with our Virtual Reality Exhibition which asked the question When Will Wildlife Get The Green Light? Throughout the project we ran 23 Virtual Reality Exhibitions with 8,822 attendees.
The Come Forth for Wildlife project focussed on large-scale habitat creation and restoration works within the Forth Valley for the benefit of amphibians, reptiles and a wealth of other wildlife. As the project is focussed on a particular region, it allows these habitats to be created with connectivity in mind – allowing wildlife to move between green corridors and counter-act the effects of habitat fragmentation identified as causing declines in some of our common species. Thirty-one habitat sites were worked on in total with 67 ponds created, 13 ponds restored and 26 terrestrial habitats created.
There were lots of opportunities for volunteers to be involved in the practical works of Come Forth for Wildlife – to learn practical techniques and create a lasting legacy of the project throughout the region. One-hundred and sixty Volunteer Sessions were run on the Come Forth for Wildlife project with an amazing 2,246 volunteers involved. Volunteers created an additional 7 ponds, restored 5 ponds and created 112 terrestrial habitats throughout the projects duration.
Our traineeships are now complete! The Come Forth for Wildlife project offered two 12 month paid traineeships – trainees were involved in all aspects of the project, learning many skills in the workplace sure to aid them in their future conservation careers. Find out more and read our trainees blogs here.
Come Forth for Wildlife was made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we were able to deliver habitat works and public engagement activities across the Forth Valley in Scotland in order to conserve and enhance the unique heritage of this area.
Come Forth for Wildlife was supported by the NatureScot Biodiversity Challenge Fund.
Additional funding for Come Forth for Wildlife project activities was kindly provided by:
- Clackmannanshire and Stirling Environment Trust
- South West Environmental Action Trust
- Avondale Environmental (part of the NPL Group), through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund
- The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
- Blodwen Lloyd Binns Bequest Fund
- William Dean Countryside and Educational Trust
- Hugh Fraser Foundation