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  • Carys Mainprize

Jack's Goodbye

Our Peatland Project Officer Jack, who will soon be moving to a role with the RSPB, reflects on his time with the Crichton Carbon Centre.


Jack and Daisy.

Before I started at the Crichton Carbon Centre in 2021 I hadn’t worked on peatlands, and I came with only a small knowledge of peatland restoration. Bogs were a habitat which I knew from soggy mountain walks and bird surveys on Shetland. I had not fully appreciated the magnitude and importance Scotland’s peatlands.

My job as Peatland Project Officer at CCC has completely shifted my perspective on peatlands. I arrived at Crichton Carbon Centre viewing peatlands as empty and desolate - forgotten habitats in neglected and abused landscapes. I leave Crichton Carbon Centre viewing peatlands as vital and beautiful – complex habitats that provide a wealth of benefits when in a healthy state. Over the last year or so it has been fantastic to play a small part peatland restoration, monitoring and advocacy.

Extensive peatland erosion.

Most peatlands in Dumfries and Galloway have been harmed by human interference. During my field surveys I have seen all sorts: from towering and crumbling peat hags to cavernous drains gushing with water, to bogs over 8 meters deep. Once you start trying to understand peatlands they never fail to surprise and amaze. It has been great working and learning from ‘Team Peat,’ bringing expertise together think about peatland restoration from several angles including resilient restoration design, water quality, biodiversity, and carbon.

Working with peatlands has taught me to be observant on the smallest scale right up to the landscape scale. For example, when surveying peatlands you may look at individual plant species such as Sphagnum and from this make inferences about the health of the bog and you may study the topography of the land to understand the movement of water across the landscape. Everything you learn from these observations feeds into the final restoration design. I often find myself looking at landscapes critically and imagining them if they were manged differently, daydreaming of what a place could look like if the ecosystem was functioning properly. This has the twin effect of filling me with a sense of remorse about what we have lost, but also a sense of hope for what the future could hold.

A close up of Sphagnum.

There is still a lot to discover about peatlands and therefore it is important that we continue to investigate and monitor peatlands so that we can best protect them. I have been involved in setting up long-term monitoring projects whilst at the Carbon Centre and I look forward hearing how these projects develop.

I moved to Galloway permanently for this role and I have discovered what magnificent county it is for people like myself that enjoy spending more time outside than inside. It often feels as if Galloway is a forgotten corner of the British Isles. Although it is by no means the most biodiverse and certainly not the most valued county, that isn’t to say it isn’t worth fighting to protect and enhance the environment. The county hosts an abundant range of habitats from the sea on the Solway all the way to the Southern Upland summits, and has its fair share of contentious and crucial conservation challenges. During my time at the Carbon Centre, I have discovered that there are many passionate individuals, organisations and landowners in the region who will continue working tirelessly to stem the tide of biodiversity loss and climate change.

When I leave CCC I will be working for the RSPB on threatened coastal habitats and species. Although clifftops and sand dunes are a far cry from bogs, I will continue to be a champion for peatlands, helping to spread a sense of appreciation for those wet and wild places!


We're sad to say goodbye to Jack but wish him luck in his new role with the RSPB, who are very lucky to have him! A huge thank you to Jack and all his hard work for CCC and D&G peatlands.

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