Friday 5 March 2021

Islay & Jura Community Peatland Project


 A Celebration of Peatland  
Our wonderful Peat and Bog 

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded the contract from the CANN peatland initiative to deliver their community engagement work on peatlands, highlighting the importance of the work and investment already delivered on the Rinns. The project has engaged with land managers to improve peatland management and help combat Rhododendron encroachment, investing significantly on the island with financial input and training. We have previously benefited from contracts with CANN to survey the peatland sites they have been working on for birds and Marsh Fritillary butterflies.
Bog Bean flower

This community work will tap into our already developed activity provision and much of our emphasis in 2021 will now be peat related. It will also enable us to develop our activities to include delivery of identification courses for upland species and wider community activities. We will have a new display in the centre and will undertake some further outreach work taking a mobile display to other parts of the island which will both spread the understanding of the importance of peatland for climate, habitat and also enable us to advertise the centre and the work that the Trust engages with. You can engage and keep up to date on the project through our Islay & Jura Community Peatland Facebook page, for those who do not do FB we will endevour to provide updated via the blog.

Sphagnum identification courses

Marsh Fritillary on Marsh Thistle

I hope to develop a wider scope for this providing it as a concept for other local organisations to latch onto and bring many more areas of the community into the framework to deliver a wider celebration of the importance of Islay and its neighbours, in the global beneficial impact of peatland, Islay after all has about 60% of its area covered in peat. One of the main draws for engagement will be a Peatland Passport booklet for individual or family self exploration and a photography and literary competition to capture the importance and to celebrate all aspects of what our peatlands mean to us. So over the winter months think about how you would want to celebrate and take your camera on a walk into the hills and bogs. A display of the entries will tour the island as part of a mobile exhibition in late summer. We will also aim to take a range of activities into the schools and engage with the High School John Muir group who use Gaelic as their medium to investigate the extent of peat within the  culture and heritage of Islay. 

Quite often over the years, this has been what
peatland has meant to me - long periods of sitting
on hillsides watching for bird activity

 Fiona MacGillivray