Environment

We believe that a clear sense of responsibility for the environment is demonstrated in the importance we place on biodiversity, conservation and sustainability and how these are included in many of our approaches and projects. One of our partner organizations, Fife Air Cadets Conservation Group, has been responsible for planting over 4,000 trees in the year past and further advances have been made to improve our colourful wildflower meadow at Balmblae.

   

We are pleased to have a Master Composter for the area, funded by Falkland Stewards, spreading the word to householders, while each year we recycle compost from baskets and containers then used to enhance beds throughout the community. Fortunate enough to have a stream running through our village all our displays and containers are watered from supplies drawn daily each summer from this source. Additionally, each Spring, every pupil in the local Primary School, accompanied by staff, parents and helpers, turns out for a litter pick to help create a sense of responsibility for their wider surroundings in the young.

For some years we have attempted to develop a healthy interest in matters like conservation and biodiversity in the young people who regularly help with projects and visit our base at Sugar Acre for tuition in activities like composting, germination, potting on and planting out
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Conservation...

The understanding that we all have a responsibility to preserve the earth’s resources encourages us to play our part in a matter that becomes ever more serious as years pass.

Although there is currently little alternative to the use of peat as a successful growing medium for the many plants we raise, at the end of each season, the container contents left after plants have been removed to the compost heap is retained for further use once refined. Thereafter, it finds its way to beds throughout the village where it benefits the soil for sustainable planting there. A machine to aid composting of green waste is presently under consideration.

Our watering and feeding system, in daily use from mid-June until late September, has become more sophisticated over the years. At one time the water filling our portable reservoir was pumped by hand from the local burn, only to be delivered in the same manner to our baskets and containers shortly after. We are pleased to report that we have always obtained water for our needs from this source and have a system that no longer requires such physical effort because of the improved pumping mechanisms used.

Water Collection Watering Basket

Encouraging the Young

We see the tuition of young people about the vital need for the promotion of aspects like recycling, sustainability and conservation as of great importance.Regular contact with pupils from Falkland Primary School and projects which show composting are of great value in helping us towards our aims.

Composting Teaching
Crocuses Clough clearing

Falkland Primary School has a very enlightened approach to the environment and was recently awarded its Green Flag in the Eco Schools campaign with projects being undertaken in its own grounds and gardens. However, visits are also made to Sugar Acre where specific lessons have been given on matters like germinating seeds and potting on plants as well as composting. Local children helped plant several thousand crocus bulbs in the West Loan while older pupils from Falkland House School helped maintain the Clough in readiness for further planting. Young members of Fife Air Cadets have regular gardening sessions in Sugar Acre and assist with the ground maintenance throughout the year.

Biodiversity...

Biodiversity, referring to the variety of life and range of plants, animals and other living things found within a specified area, includes the soil, the combination of habitats and wildlife, species diversity and native and exotic plants. Falkland in Bloom and the voluntary organisations working alongside it therefore have an important part to play in ensuring efforts are made in encouraging this balance in nature.

We believe this is reflected in the projects that are undertaken within the community and beyond, where the work taking place, whether through clearance of invasive species or the planting of trees, shrubs and plants, will help feed, shelter and sustain wildlife of all kinds.

Both clearing of self-seeded sycamore and Japanese knotweed and planting of alder, rowan, broom and wild rose, amongst others, were done at The Clough as one example. In this area also, a grass cutting policy was agreed with Fife Council to ensure disturbance to a colony of water voles, a species now under threat, was kept to a minimum, while log piles to provide shelter were created and new kinds of wildflower began to appear after the clearances made.

Clearing the Clough Clearing the Clough
Planting the Clough Planting the Clough

A grassed area at Balmblae, at one stage only supportive of dandelions, has proved difficult to develope because of the presence nearby of a colony of water voles and the danger of disturbing them.This year the wildflower meadow has proved a huge success visually and has also done much to support insect life.


 

Planting the Clough West Loan

The West Loan is now bounded on one side by a mixed hedge of hawthorn, alder, elder and wild rose running all the way to the Estate gates beside an area where hundreds of bluebells and foxgloves were planted earlier. The grassed area now has a herbaceous/shrub bed on its other edge intended to support insect life and where a second phase of planting will see the inclusion of native species including rowans and birches.

We recognize the need for a healthy balance of planting styles throughout the community and have attempted to develop sustainable approaches to our bedding schemes.

Floral Cart Planted bed


 

Group Work To these projects can be added the huge amount of work undertaken on the outskirts of Falkland in the Estate where Fife Air Cadets and Falkland Stewards all contribute to the promotion and conservation of wildlife. In an attempt to examine the numbers of red squirrels, another threatened species, in the woodland here, a survey was done last year. 

The Community Woodland at Coalpit Den has been successfully planted with young broad-leaved trees which are also supportive of wildlife, with the Fife Air Cadets group playing an important part in the redevelopment.


 

Falkland Estate Duck Pond Maspie Den
  By Kind Permission of Falkland Centre for Stewardship.

For some years we have attempted to develop a healthy interest in matters like conservation and biodiversity in the young people who regularly help with projects.

Sustainability...

Despite our ability to produce attractive displays of colourful annual flowers, our group has always been aware of the need to plant for the future.

One of the groups earliest projects was to develop an unkempt area at Victoria Place to provide an attractive multipurpose area for the benefit of residents. This location was grassed, lined with a variety of shrubs, and seats were provided with the assistance of local residents. Eventually an additional bed was formed recently when illegal use by car drivers caused damage and threatened to spoil the area for many others.

We were also happy to support the initiative of a local resident who adopted a piece of grassland on the eastern edge of the village a few years ago where an attractive, mature, sustainable planted area now exists.

Victoria Place Before Telephone Exchange Before
Victoria Place Before Telephone Exchange Before
   
After After
Victoria Place After Telephone Exchange After

A more recent sustainable planting project was carried out in 2006 when, after taking advice on the types of plants that would provide colour and support wildlife, members bedded out one edge of the West Loan. The second phase to be undertaken in the current year will see native species including birch and alder being added to complete the bed.

Further sustainable planting is now well established at the Clough in Balmblae where rowans, elder, alder, broom and wild roses were planted in an effort to augment the plants like rosebay willow herb, celandine and oxeye daisy already supporting the existence of wild life there. Involving young people, much work done on the site saw the clearance of self seeded sycamore and the complete elimination of Japanese Knotweed.

The start made to a wildflower meadow in Balmblae several years ago has at last begun to show signs of success after some difficulty. This area was rotovated and seeds were scattered in Spring resulting in a fine show of colour to support insect life. Fife Rangers from the Coast and Countryside Trust then undertook tedding to help spread seeds from the flower heads after the season ended, while every effort is being maintained to ensure the well-being of the local water vole colony. Children helped germinate some seeds and later planted out the plugs they created.

Clough Clearing Clough Planting
Clough Before Clough After

Such projects require regular maintenance and our group is presently planning for the years that lie ahead in an attempt to ensure a continuation of care for the local environment and attractive appearance of our community. The exact format of the way forward for our group is, as yet, undefined, but an ambitious programme of consultation, locally and beyond, will take place soon when we expect to consider a variety of ways to address the future and attempt to make sure the combined efforts of local voluntary groups can continue.

Helping Others

2008 saw Falkland in Bloom holding seminars attracting 60 representatives from some 30 communities throughout Fife and further afield. This was so well received that that another was organized in May 2009, when 38 representatives from 18 groups across Fife attended to hear addresses on the movement to grow more vegetables, combatting dog dirt and other topics to help in improving local communities.

Winning Britain in Bloom's Large Village category in 2008 saw an invitation arrive from Guernsey to address bloom groups on the island on how to achieve success. Members Julia Christiansen and Keith Jackson took this opportunity to divulge some of the methods used each year and the Falkland party was made very welcome during this short visit to warmer climes. See the section on the Home page for more details of our relationship with them.

 

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