Falkirk’s nature and wildlife festival in full bloom

Dan Jackman (centre back) with fellow nature lovers
Dan Jackman (centre back) with fellow nature lovers

Communities across the district are going wild for Falkirk’s inaugural nature festival.

‘Nature-Fest - Falkirk Area Wildlife Festival’ is now in full flow with events on in every corner the district.

It’s the brainchild of Dan Jackman of the Lionthorn Community Woodlands group and Les Wallace, two local men passionate about the environment and the conservation of wildlife and landscapes.

Their mission is to get people out into nature to discover and enjoy the wildlife and environment in Falkirk’s 516 square kilometres encompassing local parks, woodlands, rivers, canals and glens, and sites of interest through workshops, adventures and fun activities.

The Festival has been developed over the past six months by local groups and organisations including Falkirk Council, Scottish Waterways Trust, Forth Naturalist and Historian, Lionthorn Community Woodland Group, Westquarter Wildlife Group and Falkirk Environment Trust.

The result of the months of planning is a comprehensive guide and calendar of local wildlife and heritage events in the Falkirk area and organisers are monitoring its success and hope it will become an annual event.

Dan said: “We wanted to pool all the local events together, similar to the Edinburgh Festival, to promote everything as one to see if it would add value to all the different events happening separately in each community.

“We managed to get some funding for leaflets and a website from Forth Naturalist and Historian and the Environment Trust. There’s loads going on and it all fits in nicely with the Year of Natural Scotland.”

Activities this weekend include: Nettles, Friend or Foe on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Jupiter Wildlife Centre, Grangemouth; Wildflower Identification at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Bonnyfield Nature Reserve, Bonnybridge; Adults only Forest School at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday in Callendar Park; Take a Look at Allotments on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Bantaskine Estate.

On Tuesday there is a Braveheart Nature Ramble starting at 10.30 a.m. at the Falkirk Wheel, while on Wednesday there will be a ‘Callendar and Canal Cycle, ride at 10 a.m. from Falkirk High Station car park and a guided walk of Bomains Orchids at 2 p.m. in Bomains Meadow, Bo’ness.

The festival runs until June 30. To see the full programme of activities and to book an event visit www.nature-fest.co.uk.

For an in-depth look at what’s happening in Westquarter on Saturday, check out the Big Read on page 38.