Environment Advisory Group
The Environment Advisory Group is a volunteer group which meets bi-monthly in order to:
- advise SCT on environmental impacts of the Trust's activities
- promote environmental awareness in the local community
- organise environmental events
The group also encompasses around 30 people in the local community who regularly attend the organised events. The chair of the Environment Advisory Group is a trustee of SCT and sits on the board.
AIMS OF THE GROUP:
1. WORKING TO RETAIN AND ENHANCE LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHARACTERISTICS
- Annual beach cleans, often in conjunction with other local organisations e.g. assisting Bun Sgoil Shlèite
- Beaches cleaned: Camus an Darach, Point of Sleat, Knock Bay (with Skye Ranger Service)
2. PROVIDING ENVIRONMENTAL INPUT TO SCT PROJECTS
Regular liaison with Tormore Community Forest management over input of wildlife management advice.
- Active involvement with management of Tormore; e.g. community tree planting day, removal of unwanted conifer seedlings
- Field surveys to identify locations on the ground to increase management for biodiversity in future
- Mitigation measures for new extraction tracks particularly where crossing burns
- Expansion zones for burn-side native woodland remnants and habitat connectivity between burn-side corridors
- Extent and condition of peatlands and moorland
- Enhancing habitat diversity in old standing and fallen wood
- Initial environmental survey for potential wind turbine site
3.TAKING AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO NEW INITIATIVES
- Providing input to development of new village at Kilbeg
4. BEING POSITIVE AND PROACTIVE IN LOCAL COMMUNITY
- Winter evening talks on local biodiversity eg birds, moths, plants, marine life, mammals and wildlife on crofting land in Sleat
- Holding workshops e.g. making bat boxes, native tree growing, training in use of bat detectors and survey work
- Organising workshops, surveys and field visits for an aspen propagation project for Tormore Forest in association with other Scottish charitable organisations promoting native aspen, such as Eadha & Coille Alba
- Conducting surveys of general distribution of pipistrelle bats and abundance in old steadings
- Assisting Highland Council Rangers with a bat and moth evening
5. INVOLVEMENT IN SKYE-WIDE BIODIVERSITY PROJECTS
- Active participation by group members of the Skye & Lochalsh Environment Forum, including involvement with projects of SLEF Biodiversity Outreach Officer
Sleat Aspen Project
Aspen used to be widespread but is now one of our rarest trees, restricted mainly to inaccessible cliffs and valley sides. Our community Aspen Project will conserve Sleat’s aspens by creating an aspen grove in Tormore community forest. John Parrot of Coille Alba trained project volunteers in aspen biology and taking root cuttings, using the aspen stand in Ron Johnstone’s garden for demonstration. The volunteers then trekked over Sleat's hills and moors to find17 aspen stands and take cuttings. These were sent to Eadha Enterprises for mass propagation and the resulting young trees will be planted in Tormore. The aspen volunteers are also growing up their own root cuttings in containers. The project is a lasting legacy of our late chairperson, Annabel Pendlebury, who led this community initiative.
Community seed-growing workshop
Aspen Training at Achacloich
Practice for Bat Surveys
Environment Group Barbecue
Bat box workshop Ardvasar
Beach clean at Camus Daraich
Beach clean bags, the first hour!
More rubbish collected
Bat box workshop participants
Opening the moth trap
Lobaria lichen at Tormore
Tormore forest natural regeneration
Wildlife enthusiasts swarmed to a community workshop on wild bees organised by the Sleat Community Trust's Environment Group, and led by Katy Malone of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. A bee hunt in the Clan Donald gardens turned up four of the eight bumblebee species occurring in our part of Scotland. Participants spent a happy hour sawing, hammering and drilling to make their very own nest boxes for solitary bees. Bumblebees and solitary bees are as important as honey bees for pollinating crops; without them, we’d have to pollinate our crops by hand or machine, making our food vastly more expensive. We can help stem the national decline in bumblebees by maintaining flower-rich grasslands such as those resulting from traditional crofting, and planting simple cottage garden plants in our gardens.
Help survey bumblebees near you http://bumblebeeconservation.org/get-involved/surveys/beewatch/
For more information http://bumblebeeconservation.org/
link to the BBCT's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bumblebee-Conservation-Trust/184323594931922
Sleat's reptiles and amphibians.
Sleat's reptiles and amphibians are getting a boost through Forestry Commission Scotland's plans to improve the habitat for these species in the Kinloch and Kyleakin Hills as part of the restoration of this area to native woodland. During a reptile training day at Kinloch on 16th April, participants found slowworms (actually a legless lizard), common lizard and palmate newts. The training was led by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation's Scottish Project Officer, and organised in collaboration with Skye and Lochalsh Environment Forum. Sleat residents and visitors are encouraged to send any sightings of reptiles and amphibians in the Kinloch and Kyleakin hills to Roger Cottis at email@example.com