Despite the challenges and restrictions in 2020, the Crichton Carbon Centre team worked hard to continue delivering what aspects of their projects they could, and reshaping on the fly what they couldn't. Let's have a look at what the team got up to in 2020, and what they hope to accomplish in 2021.
Shalla Gray, who runs our Biosphere Explorers project, delivered workshops and educational trips to over 200 local schoolchildren before the start of lockdown. The focus of the project then shifted to making the information contained within the workshops available to educators and children home-schooling, with a printed legacy pack and an online resource. Subjects covered include Biodiversity, Climate Change and Sustainability.
Biosphere Explorers finishes at the end of January 2021, but plans are well underway to continue the project, with more focus on helping teachers gain the fundamental knowledge needed to bring Learning for Sustainability to all their pupils - keep an eye out for more information as this progresses.
At the beginning of the year our Peatland Action training held a full team event in Aviemore which was a great success, led by Jayne Murdoch and Dr. Emily Taylor.
Unfortunately, future events had to be postponed due to COVID-19. As with our Biosphere Explorers, the team decided to adjust and transfer much of the technical guidance online for participants to access as and when required. Jayne then sidestepped into a new role in early October, and her new project will be announced at the end of this month...
2020 was a busy year in peatland restoration for Matthew Cook, our Peatland Project Officer. Whilst conforming to lockdown restrictions, work continued on the development of potential restoration sites. Over 100ha of drained peatland were surveyed and mapped in the hills of South West Scotland. Restoration plans were prepared and funding was granted for restoration work at Cairnsmore of Fleet NNR and on the Bucclecuch Estate in the Lowther Hills.
Work has now begun on both of these sites as experienced contractors negotiate the weather and lockdown restrictions to deliver the ecological and carbon benefits of peatland restoration. Enquiries from land managers interested in the benefits of peatland restoration are coming in thick and fast, too. With the Scottish Government renewing their commitment to restoring Scotland’s peatlands, we can look forward to 2021 being an even busier year.
2021 is the year that the UK hosts COP26, where we hope stronger commitments to tackling climate change will be made. This year is also set to see peatland restoration become a larger part of our climate change conversation within Scotland and the UK as a whole. The Carbon Centre is looking forward to supporting these events, and is excited to have new projects, staff, and board members join the team. Check on our blog throughout January for the announcements - we hope to see you there.