WSWG is back on track
As you may have noticed, the WSWG Steering Group had a bit of a lull in activity over the summer months due to the covid pandemic and other reasons, but we are back now, reinvigorated and with renewed purpose for the WSWG Project to be part of our local area’s push to Build Back Better. Everything WSWG is about will help in building a sustainable future for us all through a healthier local environment and a more connected, healthier and resilient community. This is a big opportunity to take action for climate change, biodiversity and community wellbeing in all its senses. All of us, together, can and will make this happen.
What has happened since the last WSWG Update?
- Like many green spaces round the country during lockdown, we have noticed a marked increase in use of the woods by our local community, which is brilliant, with greater numbers walking, running, cycling, picking mushrooms and generally enjoying the outdoors, and many more cars in the car parks.
- Margaret Lear has helped those of us unable to visit the woods maintain a connection to them through her series of wonderful monthly blogs for WSWG, for which we thank her immensely:
Bees, Butterflies and an Old Straight Track * Creeping Up on King’s Myre * The Wet Side of the Wood The Mushroom at the End of the Wood * What We Choose to Eat from the Woods
WSWG Word of the Month
Miyawaki Forests: “Mini forests” based on a forest management methodology developed in the 1970s by Japanese botanist Dr Akira Miyawaki and reinvigorated by Shubhendu Sharma in India in the 2010s. Forests planted
in composition and structure closer to what would exist in the absence of human activity grow quickly and generally show very good ecological resilience, even in very small pockets of planting. The Scottish Government wishes to pilot mini-forests to trial this innovative approach to restoring biodiversity. Could we apply citizen science to help reforest the “Gap Site” in Five Mile Wood? Our own Miyawaki Forest in Five Mile Wood?
What’s coming up next?
We intend to engage further help to consolidate our proforestry and financial plans for both woods.
Community Benefit planning is being finalised: Healthy Living tops our vision for future use of the woods;
Access, Accessibility & Welcome auditing and planning interrupted by lockdown has picked up again;
Creativity crosscuts all our themes; Education & Lifelong Learning and Green Enterprise – lining up too.
Community Consultation will begin once all these integrated plans are complete. To be covid-compliant, this
will have to be largely on-line and by post now over a longer period, rather than through venue-based drop-in events, as originally envisaged. WSWG is therefore in the early stages of developing a new website which will be at the heart of the consultation process. We will keep you posted of timescales once they are known.
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West Stormont Woodland Group
Monthly Community Update, Elspeth Coutts, October 2020