Hand in hand

Volunteers dig in to restore newt breeding ponds at Rouken Glen park
Volunteers dig in to restore newt breeding ponds at Rouken Glen park

AUTUMN may be sneaking up on us, but it hasn’t stopped East Renfrewshire residents from wrapping up and venturing into the wild.

Last week saw the first Rouken Glen conservation project outing, organised by East Ren council as part of the park’s regeneration funding.

Led by Ewan Kane of community group Carts Greenspace, over a dozen volunteers dug in and began by restoring newt breeding ponds.

Previously frequent visitors to the park, the newts vacated when the pond silted up – but environmental buffs hope that recreating the habitat will encourage them back and improve biodiversity in Rouken Glen.

Ewan said: “It’s amazing how many folk are willing to get their boots on and come out and get stuck in to some truly demanding but rewarding tasks.

“Almost anyone can do it and the groups are always very friendly. The best way to find out about it is to come along and join in”.

Helping was Ken Stein, a member of Friends of Rouken Glen Park.

He commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed getting my hands dirty – it’s my local park and a wonderful asset to the area. I was just happy to be able to do anything I could to help make it better”.

ERC projects planning manager Sharon McMutrie explained that the activity was the first of many, and added: “The Rouken Glen project is not just about the major infrastructure works like the refurbishment of the pavilion or improving the water quality of the pond.

It’s equally about getting the community involved in the park and developing activities they want”.

Other volunteering opportunities are available, including studying the park’s geology, archaeology and history.

To find out more, e-mail rgv@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk.

Meanwhile local members of the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) are inviting residents to a talk on the plight of the red squirrel, to be held in Clarkston Halls this month.

The Clarkston and East Kilbride branch of SWT will welcome manager of the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrel project, Dr Mel Tonkin, on September 12.

The meeting will start at 7.30pm. For more information, please contact cek.swt@gmail.com