For three hours a month volunteers in Bo’ness have been working hard to transform a scrap yard into a haven for wildlife.
Six years ago Suzanne Burgess began working as a trainee with Buglife, which aims to conserve invertebrates in Scotland, and began investigating brownfield sites which would make a suitable home for wildlife.
Suzanne said: “The scrap yard in the Bridgeness area of Bo’ness was a good site for all manner of creepy crawlies.
“So Buglife began trying to get funding so we could work at the site, tidy it up and make it acceptable for wildlife.”
The area was then labelled an important wildlife site and the trust began recruiting volunteers to help transform the land.
This was not going to be an easy task as Suzanne explained the area had had no management in years and was very messy.
She said: “A path had been built and people were walking through the site, however no one had been looking after it so it was disgusting.
“There was so much litter lying everywhere and the trees, plants and bushes all needed cut back.”
With a team of volunteers all happy to give up three hours a month, they began the difficult task of transforming the brownfield site.
Suzanne said: “Everyone who helps has been brilliant. For the three hours we are here it is constant work. Some people are unemployed and others are part-time workers who give up their free time to help.
“Working here helps them meet new people and develop skills that will hopefully help them find a job.
“They also get to learn about the wildlife as I educate them if we discover a new animal that now lives on the site.”
Since October the team has been meeting on the first Wednesday of every month and their hard work has been paying off as the transformation of the site has been incredible.
Suzanne said: “The hard work has really paid off however there is still a lot to do. We have cleared so much litter but it is a big area. We will also hopefully be planting native tree species later this year.”
The aim of the project is to bring biodiversity to the Bridgeness Scrap Yard and also to create a wildflower meadow in a Grangepans sight east of the scrap yard.
Last year, flowers were planted and Buglife are hopeful they will be in full bloom this year, bringing a variety of wildlife to the site.
Suzanne said: “Both Bridgeness Scrap Yard and Grangepans amenity grassland act as an important green corridor that functionally links important habitat and allows the movement and mixing of wildlife throughout Bo’ness.”
Next month members of the Carriden Community group, an after school kids club, will be out helping plant more flowers in the meadow.
So far the project has been a success with bumblebees, spiders, ants and much more being spotted in the area, as well as voles, rabbits and kestrels. Suzanne said: “I am meant to focus on the bugs but I am more than happy to see other wildlife flourish as well as a result of our work.”
Linsley Rodger, a Bo’ness resident originally from Linlithgow, said: ”I joined the project to help transform the area. The transformation so far has been incredible and is the result of a lot of hard work.”