Nine volunteers took part in our Summer beach clean this morning including Elaine from Fife and John and Lisa from Montrose. Whilst we managed to remove lots of mixed plastics and general items it was fishing net and wire which comprised the largest component of marine litter today. Amongst all of this we found lots of jellyfish along the shoreline which is bad news for the dogs but great news for the leatherback Turtle. Leatherback turtles love Jellyfish and eat hundreds of them. Whilst we have not seen a turtle in East Haven they are around in local waters and one was washed up in St Cyrus last year. Weighing up to a tonne and measuring almost 3 metres in length August is the peak time to see leatherback turtles in UK waters. They arrive from their nesting grounds in the Caribbean to refuel on our abundant seasonal jellyfish blooms. Removing plastics and netting from our seas and beaches protects wildlife and you never know, this might be the year to spot one swimming in the sea around East Haven!
We found a baby hedgehog wandering about on Wednesday afternoon (Photo on home page). Not a good sign as they are nocturnal creatures and if you see one during the day it is likely to be in trouble. A few hours later it was lying curled up near the road at risk from cars and other predators. We therefore made up a box and left it overnight with some water and meat based cat food. We were thrilled when we found that it had survived the night and eaten some of the cat meat. However, when we weighed it we found that it was only 123g and the Hedgehog Rescue Centre in Wormit felt that we should bring her in. However, we left with far more than we arrived as we agreed to bring back two large hedgehogs for rehabilitation back into the wild. Both these hedghogs are were brought to the Centre as babies, one from Brechin and the other from Blairgowrie. They have never had to forage for themselves so we will provide some feeding support for a while until we are confident that they are able to fend for themselves. As you can see from the photo they are big healthy females one of which has been named Mina due to her digging activities so we just need to think of a name for the other
Community Petanque is proving a popular activity in East Haven since we built our own course in 2016. Last week we welcomed the Letham Twinning Association and their French visitors and this week we all participated in a wheelchair/chair game of petanque. That's the great thing about this game. People of all ages and all abilities can play and it's a very social activity. We now play every Friday evening at 7pm and it seems that we might be now setting up a few friendly games with Letham Twinning Association.
Today we welcomed Beautiful Scotland judges to East Haven for a training event. All the judges are volunteers and many of them have a background in horticulture and/or a strong interest in envionmental issues and gardens. Every year Keep Scotland Beautiful provides a training day before they commence their judging visits across Scotlands towns, villages and cities. East Haven first entered the competition in 2014 and it's fair to say that we were very nervous about our first judges visit when to our surprise, we achieved SilverGilt and the VisitScotland Tourism award. However, we quickly realised, that the judges are not just there to assign an award but to provide support and encouragement to participants.
It was a real pleasure to host the event in East Haven and share our experience of using Beautiful Scotland's three pillar framework which has helped drive forward improvments in the village. The Beautiful Scotland competition has changed a lot over the years and the focus is as much about how communities work together and consider their whole environment as it is about plants and flowers. We have certainly benefited so much from our involvment and would highly recommend Beautiful Scotland to all communities who want to make improvements to their environment.
Yesterday we represented East Haven at a Scottish Government event in Edinburgh about empowering communities. There was a lot of interest in the Community Learning Exchange which East Haven and Blairmore participated in. The Photograph shows Agnes Harvey from Blairmore and Wendy Murray from East Haven who also spoke about the Beautiful Scotland camapign which both communities are involved in. East Haven also shared information about community resilience and the management of public toilets. 2017 has definately been the year to talk about toilets. We have spoken to communities all over Scotland about the community partnership and how it works in reality. It was an interesting day at the event and we have returned feeling more informed about how to use the Community Empowerment Act to support our community to be as strong as it can be.