Faith Action for Nature – Helensburgh and Lomond Churches visit RSPB Reserve

As part of the Faith Action for Nature pilot, members of eco-congregations from the Helensburgh and Lomond network connected with their local RSPB Scotland representative to explore Gartocharn.

This is a story from them:

Our link is with RSPB Gartocharn, one of the newest reserves in RSPB Scotland portfolio, and we have been in contact with reserve manager Paula Baker, and community manager, Emma Martinelli.   Rev Elizabeth Houston from Alexandria Parish church is a life fellow of RSPB and Mary Sweetland, a member.

In August, Rev Liz and Mary walked the site with Emma, thinking on preparing a reflective walk to be used by visitors, and Rev Liz prepared the pamphlet RSPB Loch Lomond.   On Sunday 16th Sept, during Creation Time, a group of 16 members of Alexandria Parish Church (and one dog)  met at the reserve, on a beautiful afternoon and completed the walk in just over an hour. Only two had visited the site before, and what was surprising was that a few did not realise that RSPB is a charity, they thought it was funded by government.

A group of children had been pond-dipping before we arrived and we were able to see what treasures had been found with instruction from the staff.

The walk around the reserve is suitable for all, not too strenuous and wheelchair accessible, (but one steep part needs care). A group of children had been pond-dipping before we arrived and we were able to see what treasures had been found with instruction from the staff.

In Autumn, although the Ospreys have headed back to Africa for the winter, we kept our eyes peeled for a red squirrel, and the wicker animals.   There were an astounding crop of fungi this season, but we didn’t have a mycologist with us!

A donation was made to the RSPB from the offerings from the Harvest Lunch at Alexandria Parish Church at the end of October.

The members of the Helensburgh and Lomond network completed the walk on 5th October and we plan to promote a visit again in spring 2019. They’ve also produced a leaflet on RSPB Loch Lomond Points to Ponder for RSPB Scotland staff can for other visitors.

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