Wildlife, walks and worms part of Blairgowrie 'bioblitz' weekend

One of the guided nature events during the bioblitz weekend in Blairgowrie and Rattray
-Credit: (Image: Clare McMicking/CraicN Communications)

A ‘bioblitz’ weekend in Blairgowrie and Rattray – Scotland’s first biodiversity town – has been hailed as a success by organisers.

More than 100 people attended a series of free events and activities in the east Perthshire town over June 21 and 22, organised by volunteers from Blairgowrie and Rattray Development Trust’s (BRDT) Biodiversity Blair project in collaboration with others.

Events included a number of talks and workshops as well as other sessions such as a screening of the film ‘Why Not Scotland’, a chance to listen to wildlife at dawn over coffee and croissants, a display in Blairgowrie Library of poems, songs and pictures about biodiversity created by school pupils and a number of stalls in the Wellmeadow highlighting the work being done by groups such as Tayside Biodiversity, the Tayside Swift Project, Blairgowrie, Rattray and District Climate Cafe and the RSPB.

Guided walks looking at edible and medicinal trees, flowers and plants, and bird identification proved to be very popular.

And one of the highlights of the weekend was a ‘worm charming’ competition which saw people of all ages try their hands at encouraging worms to come out of the ground as part of wider efforts to help improve an understanding of the overall biodiversity picture in the town.

Biodiversity Blair volunteers Angela Comley and Rob Alfano
Biodiversity Blair volunteers Angela Comley and Rob Alfano -Credit:Clare McMicking/CraicN Communications

Biodiversity project officer Jenna Muir was part of the organising team behind the event.

She said: “We’re delighted with the success of the bioblitz – it was the first time we have held a programme of events on this scale and it was fantastic to see so many people coming along and getting involved.

“It is heartening to find so many people locally who have an appetite to learn how best we can improve our environment for the future health of our families and all species.

“Our aim at Biodiversity Blair is to improve the environment locally for all species – including humans – through nurturing and protecting habitats and working with others, and it is great that other groups and organisations support those efforts.

“We’re incredibly lucky that there are some very passionate and enthusiastic experts in their fields who live locally who were willing to share their knowledge and experience with us and are hugely grateful to all those who led walks, gave presentations and talked to people over the weekend.

“We would also like to thank everyone who took the time to come along and find out more about everything from rewilding to wildlife photography, red squirrel conservation to bumblebee identification, swifts and bumblebees, and of course everyone who took part in the worm charming competition!

“We hope that this weekend has highlighted the many ways that people can get involved in enhancing biodiversity in our town and help have a positive impact on our environment for generations to come.”

Former wildlife crime officer and author Alan Stewart
Former wildlife crime officer and author Alan Stewart -Credit:Clare McMicking/CraicN Communications

Former wildlife crime officer Alan Stewart was one of the presenters at the event.He said: “I am very interested in all types of biodiversity and events like this are a great way to spread the word about wildlife, and indeed wildlife crime which is my particular area of expertise.

“The climate crisis means that people need to be more aware of nature and wildlife and I was therefore delighted to be able to be involved with the bioblitz.”

Kay Seal, Jamie-Lee Morrison and Nathan Jamieson from Blairgowrie, Rattray and District Climate Cafe
Kay Seal, Jamie-Lee Morrison and Nathan Jamieson from Blairgowrie, Rattray and District Climate Cafe -Credit:Clare McMicking/CraicN Communications

Blairgowrie and Glens SNP councillor, Tom McEwan, said: “The educational aspect of this event and the raising of awareness of the issues around biodiversity that the volunteers and groups and organisations taking part provided to local residents and visitors to the town are very important and essential to counter the loss of species and the wider issue of climate change.

“I therefore commend the efforts of everyone involved in pulling this event together.”

For more information on the wider project, see www.biodiversityblair.scot or email info@biodiversityblair.scot.

Alternatively, follow ‘BiodiversityBlair’ on social media.