Welcome to the May 2014 SUP Newsletter.

Welcome to another round of news and events from SUP and partners across the South of Scotland. The big news for Pip is that following several months of burning the candle at both ends the Land Reform Review Group submitted its recommendations to the Scottish Government earlier this month. It was great recognition of the scope of SUP’s remit and for Pip personally that he was invited to join the group. To review the recommendations go to: www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0045/00451597.pdf

We’d also like to invite you to join us on the 23rd June at the Buccleuch Arms for the SUP AGM 2pm – 4pm tea / coffee provided, contact piptabor@sup.org.uk for more details.

SUP are pleased to announce that following a successful funding partnership between Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, East Ayrshire Council and South Ayrshire Council we now have a new Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere team employed through SUP for the next three years.

Nic CoombeyNic Coombey is responsible for developing community and education opportunities in the Biosphere area. Nic has worked in SW Scotland for over 17 years with Solway Heritage and Southern Uplands Partnership and most recently as a Coastal Ranger with Solway Firth Partnership. The participation of local people in conservation and learning has been a focus of his work on implementing natural, built and cultural heritage projects and he is looking forward to continuing this role in the new phase of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve.

Nic Coombey
Community & Learning Officer
e-mail: nic@sup.org.uk
phone: 07467 374961

Chimwemwe ChagundaAs the Business and Development officer, Chimwemwe Chagunda is responsible for developing relationships between businesses and agencies in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve.  Chimwemwe has worked as a trading supervisor with Wildfowl and  Wetland Trust (WWT) and as visitor services assistant with National Museums Scotland (NMS) prior to her return to university two years ago.  She is bringing with her the current knowledge and skills from the Food Tourism Management honours degree which she will receive this summer and the diverse work experiences in tourism having lived and worked in Denmark, Canada, USA and Malawi.  Chimwemwe is looking forward to fostering greater business understanding of the opportunities the Biosphere presents when linked to the Dark Sky Park, Recreational Tourism, Food and Drink.

Chimwemwe Chagunda
Business and Development Officer
e-mail: chimwemwe@sup.org.uk
phone: 07467 374963

Stephanie MilesThe new Natural Heritage officer for the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve, Stephanie Miles is taking forward work on the conservation of habitats and species in the area. Stephanie has worked as an environmental scientist for consultancies and most recently was based at the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology in Edinburgh. Previously she has worked on public engagement projects for the RSPB in Shetland and Edinburgh. She is looking forward to bringing these work experiences together with her Conservation and Biodiversity MSc and GIS skills, to work with communities, land owners and businesses to improve the Biosphere for nature and people.
Stephanie Miles
Natural Heritage Officer
e-mail: Stephanie@sup.org.uk
phone: 07467 374962

The team are really looking forward to re-establishing old contacts as well as making new ones so please drop them a line and let them know who you are. They’ll be working across the Biosphere but will have an office base at Kirroughtree Visitor Centre in the old tea rooms;

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere
Kirroughtree Visitor Centre
Newton Stewart

Scottish Borders Nature Based Tourism

If you own or operate a tourism business in the Scottish Borders SUP would like to invite you and/or your staff to a FREE day out exploring Coastal Borders on Fri 27th June.

To launch the new “Explore for a Day – Scottish Borders” leaflet we have organised a familiarisation day to introduce you to a variety of cultural and natural heritage sites that you may not have visited in the Borders.

Our Coastal Borders day includes private guided tours of Gunsgreen House, St Abb’s National Nature Reserve, Paxton House and Coldingham Sands.

Come and witness the wildlife spectacle of breeding sea birds at St Abb’s, pretend to be a smuggler at Gunsgreen,enjoy the splendour and tranquillity of Paxton and see what you can discover in one of Coldingham’s glistening rock pools. To end the day we invite you to try your hand at Archery on the banks of the Tweed.

As well as exploring the areas nature and culture we would also like you to sample some of its produce. We will provide lunch and regular stops in spectacular settings so you can enjoy local ice creams, sea food and farm produce.

Click here for our exciting itinerary. Spaces are limited to 20 so please book yours at our Eventbrite page (max 2 spaces per business):

Making more of the Natural and Cultural Heritage along our coast

Dumfries and Galloway has over 200 miles of spectacular coastline and plays host to a fascinating array of natural and cultural opportunities from the salt marshes in the east to the beginnings of Scottish Christianity in the west. But could we do more to celebrate our heritage and to help stimulate the coastal economy?

Join us to hear about the opportunities we have and to help influence the ways we can make more of it.

Tuesday July 8th 2014 10.30am – 3.30pm
Arden House Hotel Tongland Road Kirkcudbright DG6 4UU

Nic Coombey – Making the Most of the Coast
Vyv Wood-Gee – A Coastal Path for South West Scotland…?
Catriona McMillan – The Ways to Whithorn: in the footsteps of pilgrims past and present
Nick Cooke – Off road Pilgrimage Travel: The bigger picture

Mull of Galloway

New public survey

The Wildlife Information Centre (TWIC) recently launched a survey of three distinctive species of birds of prey in the Lothians and Scottish Borders; Buzzard, Kestrel and Red Kite– the ‘Record a Raptor’ survey.

There is a need to record raptors to monitor how they are faring. Birds of prey are also sometimes involved in wildlife conflicts, and raptors are especially vulnerable to illegal persecution. In order to protect local birds of prey, we need to know where they are. We hope to address this by encouraging everyone to send us their sightings.

We would be grateful if you could help us promote the survey. We have printed 3 different record-postcards, one for each of the species. We would love to hear from you if you can help us distribute these? If so, could you please let us know how many postcards you would like and the address you would like them sent to? We have also produced an A4 poster, which is available to download from the TWIC website (or we can email it to you).

Last week we launched a competition on the TWIC Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/wildlifeinformation – ‘like’ and ‘share’ our ‘Record a Raptor’ competition post, and enter in the draw to win some amazing book prizes (kindly donated by the RSPB and BTO). Winners will be announced on Monday 23rd of June.

If you would like more information about the survey, please do not hesitate to get in touch louise@wildlifeinformation.co.uk . Alternatively, you can visit our website at www.wildlifeinformation.co.uk/involved_raptors.php.

Bio Security Campaign

Water based biosecurity campaigns for Dumfries & Galloway in partnership with SNH, Galloway Fisheries Trust, Nith Catchment Fishery Trust, River Annan Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland, Solway Firth Partnership and Dumfries and Galloway Council Rangers.

The campaigns are:

Check Clean Dry – aimed at raising awareness of freshwater and marine non-native species (NNS) amongst recreational water users, providing information on what to look out for, and encouraging the checking, cleaning and drying of equipment to prevent the spread of NNS to other waters. http://www.nonnativespecies.org/checkcleandry/index.cfm. A ‘ Biosecurity – Support Pack’ should be available shortly (for any upcoming recreational events that involve water eg angling, boating, canoeing etc) TBC.

Be Plant Wise – aimed at: gardeners and pond keepers to help prevent the purchase and distribution of invasive aquatic non-native plants. http://www.nonnativespecies.org/beplantwise

Business Opportunities to Add Value to
Local Woodfuel Through Drying

Half day seminar

Thursday 12th June 2014 at Tweed Horizons, Newtown St Boswells

Forestry occupies over 18% of the land area of the Scottish Borders, however the lack of suitable timber drying facilities in the Scottish Borders has been identified as a key constraint on the development of the local forestry sector.

With support from the Scottish Government, Scottish Borders Council commissioned a study in March 2013 to assess the feasibility of the establishment of a kiln drying facility in the Scottish Borders.

Envirocentre Environmental Consultancy, in conjunction with Nevin Associates Limited and Buccleuch Woodlands Ltd have now completed this study, and the principal finding of the report is that a drying facility, based on existing biomass markets, appears economically viable across a range of scenarios.  Such a development would create further opportunities to dry timber for other uses.

The Council is now making this study available to the private sector in the hope that the benefits for the local economy can be realized in the form of local employment, greater local timber utilization, increased demand for woodfuel and support for the move towards a low carbon economy.

The full report is available on the Council’s website at www.scotborders.gov.uk/kilndrying and the findings of the study are to be presented in detail at an open half day seminar on 12th June at Tweed Horizons at Newtown St Boswells.

The event is being jointly presented with the Borders Woodfuel Forum and will also consider some of the technical issues associated with drying woodfuel and potential sources of funding.

The schedule for the event is attached.  To book a place please e mail Mike Marsh at Scottish Borders Council, Michael.Marsh@scotborders.gov.uk

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