Recently I went along to a fab family fun day themed around fruit and veg in Glasgow. I did runner bean races, apple and spoon races and danced to fruit and veg themed songs. It was on a wild green space called the North Kelvin Meadows in the really cool West End. But the bad news is that it might not be there for much longer as some people want to build houses on it, so loads of other children could miss out on being active and healthy there.
|Me enjoying the Children's wood area|
Read on to see what small thing you could do to help give loads and loads of other children the chance to have fun in this wild space.
Why wild spaces are great
Not everyone is lucky enough to have their own garden and even less of us have a wild space that we can run around in, climbing trees and exploring. I was really sad to be told that 1/3 of Scottish children say they never, ever play outside. There is heaps of research now to tell us that getting outside and doing wild play is great for our development and education, even the Scottish Government agrees!! So Mummy and Daddy think it is great that communities are coming together to look after wild spaces and start community gardening within them. That means others can learn to be as good a gardener as I already am at 3.5 years old. Plus it makes us all feel safer and happier to know that people are looking after nature on our doorstep.
|Wonder if a fox lives in this underground house?|
North Kelvin Meadows
Seven years ago a community group set about managing a green space in the West End of Glasgow. The site had previously been playing fields and tennis courts but had not been looked after for over 25 years and so was a bit messy and yucky. The local people tidied it up with the idea of maintaining the ground as a multi-use community green space for the people of Maryhill and the West End.
|60 bags of rubbish were filled in just the first clean-up|
They have built raised bed allotments for people to come along and try out planting and growing things to eat, a fruit garden, composting facilities that reduce the waste going into landfill and a wildflower plantation. In the 7 years since they started (and were told by the Council they were wasting their time trying to clean and maintain the space) countless children have been born who are now lucky enough to run around and climb trees in the Meadows. They have also received awards and commendations from the RHS and Beautiful Scotland.
The Children's Wood
Since 20122/12 there has been an area of the Meadows called the Children's Wood designed to connect children with nature. Fourteen schools can walk to the space to use it for outdoor learning. As well as storytelling under the trees they can try growing things, orienteering, looking at the bugs and beasties they share the space with or learning life skills like team work and assessing risks. There is a weekly outdoor learning club open to all on Wednesday 10am-12noon. And they hold amazing events such as the one I went to a few weeks ago. The Children's Wood have started to put together a concept plan for what they'd use the Meadows for and you can see more on that here.
They've also made a short film about the benefit of time spent in nature on children's learning and development, you can see it here.
|My BFF Euan dressed in his tomato hat dancing to a song about mushrooms at the recent family fun day|
Objections to planning application
There are simple reasons why the Council shouldn't allow the housing development. As of August 2011 the Meadows fall into the West End Conservation area. The trees bordering the site have preservation orders on them. And the Council's City Plan policy is supposed to be to:
- Retain trees which contribute positively to the historic character of the area,
- Retain all existing open space, public or private, which contributes positively to the character of the area,
- Respect the historical context and have regard to the historic plans of the area,
- Preserve and enhance the special character and appearance of the area
So surely the ground is secure as a stimulating learning environment for all? Nope! The area has been marked for a housing development for 90 new houses despite there never, ever having been houses there before.
|Wild Helleborine orchids, this site might be one of the largest orchid sites in Glasgow|
The deadline for objecting to the development plans is 29th June 2015. That's less than 2 weeks away. So if you have a few minutes it would be great if you could have a look at this web site where you will find a standard objection email to easily cut and paste into your email and send to Glasgow City Council.
Objections will help the Meadows continue to host events such as the Summer Solstice Celebration and Butterfly and Grasshopper Feast on 21st June. You can dress up as your favourite bug or insect and do maypole dancing. In August there will be a Harvest Festival and on 13th September there will be a Fairy, Elf and Pixie Festival.
|Fancy buzzing along to the Butterfly and Grasshopper Feast this Sunday?|
If you do object you'll know you did a wee bit towards preserving a wonderful place. A place that children and adults can use to grow and develop themselves as well as things to eat. A place where friendships have blossomed. Neighbours, even from adjoining properties who had never spoken, now share advice on pruning and planting out. A place for gardening enthusiasts like you and I to enjoy it as a place to meet.
That sounds like a Dear Green Place in Glasgow doesn't it?
Hugs & kisses,