Category: Our Community

Nature Film Making Workshop

Artist film-maker Margaret Salmon will lead a workshop with 13 – 17 year olds teaching the foundations of 16mm nature film making. The workshop will cover basic analogue film-making techniques as well as various approaches to documenting wildlife and wild landscapes. No experience necessary but places are limited (weather permitting) Please book through

Saturday 8th June


Outdoor Artists Film Screening: Eglantine

Outdoor Artists Film Screening: Eglantine

8th June 2019

Join American Glasgow-based artist filmmaker Margaret Salmon for an outdoor showing of her film Eglantine (weather permitting) as part of the West-end Festival. Eglantine, is a beautiful meditative and enchanting account of a young girl’s real and fantastical adventure in a remote forest one evening. This film draws inspiration from a range of cinematic movements as well as wildlife documentaries to produce a lyrical and sensual portrait of a child’s eye perspective on the natural world. Bring a picnic and blanket.

Wild Festival and Gala

Wild Festival and Gala

It’s that time of year again when our community comes together for the West End Festival. There will be gardening and planting, Bioblitz of species with the RSPB (a recording process for identifying the species on the land, you can be part of this legacy), outdoor cooking, street play with Operation Play Outdoors and our infamous Dog Show (to take part in the dog show you can send in pictures under different categories to – more information will be posted soon about this)

Waterstones Byres Road will join us to sell copies of our book The Dear Wild Place. The wonderful children’s theatre company Eco Drama will be on the land for their new performance about birds called Whirlybird.

Bring a neighbour, friend, picnic and join us to celebrate the first day of the West -end Festival. Remember, if you are joining us then please take all rubbish away and leave the land as good as you found it, or better.

If you are local and would like to volunteer or be part of the event please email us

Date 1st June

Time 12-4pm


Volunteer Action Weekend

Come and join local community members to make a difference to the garden and the land. Experienced gardener Christine will be on the land all day with lots of gardening jobs needing done. 10-4pm on Saturday 18th May

Wild about Waste in the Wood

There are various different forms of composting and waste recycling on the land. Join one of Nikki’s workshops to find out what can be composted and how you can get involved in the process.

11am-12pm worm farming
1pm-2pm composting
3pm-4pm dog poo wormery

Flower Power: The Land Needs You

Planting extravaganza 

when – 2nd March 11-2pm

where – Community Garden on North Kelvin Meadow

Come and join the community in supporting the development and biodiversity of the land. Seeds and plants will survive in the land much better after being cultivated at home first.

Collect seeds from us, plant them in a small pot and take them home to grow. After a few weeks you can bring them back to the land to plant.

Together we can do more for the land including increasing biodiversity, supporting the wild aspect of the land and also creating more colour throughout the year.

Everyone is welcome

Meet our new Community Gardeners

Christine – Hello. I’m the new community gardener. I’ve been in the community development field for 35 years and I’m now working as a freelance gardener as it’s been my life long passion. I’m here on a Wednesday from 11-1 and I’m looking for volunteers to help prepare the community garden for Spring. I can’t wait to get to everyone and cook a big pot of soup with our produce next year!


Christine, Community Gardener

Stacey – I’ll be working with the gardening project as part of my university placement. I am currently in my 3rd year studying Community Development at the University of Glasgow. I’ve been in the community development sector for 5 years and in the past 2 years I have been leading a gardening project for young people where they have the opportunity to learn how to grow their own fruit and vegetables and cook yummy meals with their produce! I’m passionate about social change and equality. I can’t wait to get to stuck in and get my hands dirty! I hope to see you soon!

Community Development Worker

Stacey is also one of our youth workers at the G20 Youth Festival. More will be on here about that project soon.

Happbee Anniversary

It was just over a year ago that social artist Kathleen Friend approached us about bringing honeys bees to the land. Local resident and mutual friend Gary introduced us. We knew this would be a meaningful and worthy project, but it has proved to be far more engaging, educational and community building than we expected.   Kathy, as she is known to locals, is an experienced beekeeper and if you have ever met her you will know how much knowledge and interest she brings to the subject of bees. It’s contagious.  Her idea wasn’t any ordinary bee project though. Kathy wanted to house the bees in a structure which she has modelled on a traditional doo-kit/doo-cot/dovecot; a large home for pigeons often made from corrugated iron.  There’s one up by the canal near Firhill basin.

Kathy’s beedookit idea is genius, since it allows communities to have bees on the land, but keeps people (and bees) safe and at a distance.

Copyright Kathleen Friend

The idea behind the beedookit is that the bees live upstairs inside the large temporary structure; the bees exit and enter the beedookit through small slits at the top of the structure (you can see the slits in the picture above, they are located at the bottom section of the wooden top part of the beedookit). Kathy had a clear idea and vision for what the  beedookit would look like and where it would be situated on the land.  The joiner she had to build the structure fell through at the last minute.  Luckily, we knew of a community member who might be able to help and pointed her to our friend and volunteer Josh Reid.  Josh has volunteered with the Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow for some years now, you may have been to one of his infamous yearly firework displays on the land?  or his rocket launching at the space event a few years ago? to name just a couple of ways he has helped out. Josh’s mum Betsy is a beekeeper so Josh has a family connection with bees.  Josh is also a brilliant engineer and has a large workshop nearby in Maryhill.  Josh immediately offered to help out, and this reflects his generous spirit. He refined Kathy’s idea then built the beedookit in his workshop.  In true Josh style, he did all of this in amongst a full time busy job, selling and moving house and supporting his wife and 3 children.

The beedookit wouldn’t be here with out Josh’s engineering prowess.

Admittedly it ended up a lot bigger than we expected but I think you will agree it is a beautiful structure, while also being very much in keeping with our space and also the traditional dookit design envisioned by Kathy.

beedookit honeycomb design


beedookit from a far

It was a major feat getting the structure onto the land and into the pre dug holes.  But Kathy, Josh and their team of helpers did it.


Susie and helpers

cement preparation

Josh, Ivan, Gary, Quintin, Keith and Josh’s father in law navigating the wooden top structures up

Almost there


beedookit from a far

The goodwill didn’t end there.  To prepare for the structure arriving our Land and Community Garden coordinator Joni Mackay (who sadly no longer works with us) helped Kathy to facilitate the hole digging.   The Conservation Volunteers and RBS volunteers also helped out.  The Conservation Volunteers have been supporting and working with us the last 6 years building and making things on the land: raised beds, tipi, mudkitchen and helping with conservation work. They also played a critical role in our campaign to save the land from a housing development.   Check out the hard work and success of digging the holes Copyright Kathleen Friend

To increase community engagement Kathy wanted a way for people to look at the bees. She created a periscope for people to look into the beehive directly, without having to get inside the beedookit. This has become a very busy spot and people often come by just to look through the periscope to see how the bees are getting on.




Kathy has worked with local schools, Dunard and St Charles Primary, and the children came up with some brilliant bee picture for the beedookit.   Kathy put these pictures up on the day of the beedookit launch during the West-end Festival.   MP Patrick Grady joined Kathy to ceremoniously opened the beedookit.

MP Patrick Grady Opening the Beedookit

Kathy and Patrick

Copyright Kathleen Friend.  The beedookit at our halloween event

We had previously contemplated bringing bees to the land,  however there was no one with a practical enough vision or the skill to support bees long term on the site.  We had also been warned against bringing bees to the land by bigger conservation groups like Bug Life who argued that large number of bees could potentially outcompete and interfere with local insect life and biodiveristy – although the warning was more connected to commercial bee hives.   Kathy’s project has been the perfect idea for bringing bees to a community space.  It has brought people together. It has made us plant more meadow plots (with support from the RSPB, Joni and the gardening crew), flowers and plants to support our new wee pals.   We even hosted a bee festival at the beginning of 2018.  Just a few weeks ago we planted 200 more crocuses thanks to the Conservation Volunteers.   Supposedly these are early flowering and the bees love them.



Kathy has been regularly at the beedookit educating people about the bees and training local people up in how to manage and care for the bees.  Even the little ones have been enjoying beekeeping sessions.

Not only has the bee project brought people together but we also got a little amount of  honey from the bees.   Delicious. Maybe next year there will be more honey! what do you think Kathy?


Copyright Kathleen Friend


Lastly, we’d like to say a massive thank you to Kathy for brining honey bees to our community. And Happbee anniversary Kathy.  The beedookit project has strengthened our community  and raised awareness for one of the most special creatures in our community – the honey bees.  Thanks Kathy.

Check out the beedookit and Kathy in the music video Be Kind by Warren Starry Skies. To find out more about the beedookit  project you can follow/get in touch with  Kathy on her Facebook Page 

Awesome Childhood Experiences

Earlier this year I attended an event with speakers discussing the impact of  Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) – the public health implications of early adversity on later development.  At that talk childhood campaigner Sue Palmer said something that struck a chord with me. She used a phrase Awesome Childhood Experiences. I loved the play on words, but it also described to me what I, and my  community, have been working towards for the last 7 years – a different childhood experience for children and families in our area.  The Children’s Wood project began with the intention of making childhood (and adulthood) a more nurturing, tolerant and meaningful experience for people locally.  To do this, we have facilitated regular outdoor community activities on our local wild space – The Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow  – and we now have a strong community feeling around the land.

You might wonder why we need an alternative, what’s wrong with the way we bring up children? Childhood is thought to be a time when children feel loved, supported, nurtured and are free of stress. However,  sadly, this is not how many children feel growing up. For many children it’s a toxic, stressful or unsafe experience. Mental and physical health issues are impacting upon children as young as 5 .  Because of this, there is a growing movement of people campaigning for a more nurturing, and developmentally appropriate, childhood.   I think the Children’s Wood demonstrates two important ingredients which are missing from the lives of many children, but which can play an important role: community and nature.

Community has played a central role in the work we do at The Children’s Wood.  It helps children to feel part of something bigger than themselves; part of a wider support network. Getting to know people of different ages, and from diverse backgrounds, builds empathy; children will learn about the struggles others have gone, or are going, through, and that we are ‘in it together’. It also builds trust in others since through our communities we will inevitably meet and get to know our neighbours.   Being part of a community brings problems to be solved – we’ve experienced this many times through our campaign to stop a housing development and to get people outside into nature more.  Collectively, more can be achieved since it’s easier to support the whole family as well as the child.

Community is needed more now than ever, it is far too easy to be connected to social media and electronic devices.  These feed addiction and stop us from connecting with each other and feeling alive.  It also breeds a kind of individualism that can undermine our healthy social, emotional and physical development.  Relationships are key to making us happy and through community life we can develop these bonds with other people. Social Scientists have studied happiness levels and time and again they have found that our relationships are THE top factor in making us happy.

It is not surprising then that when relationships breakdown-  and attachments are broken – children suffer.  Attachments are central to us living a meaningful and healthy existence.  The research into ACES highlights how toxic and long lasting the breakdown of relationships in childhood can be – this is because the attachment has been damaged in some way between the child and the adult(s).   This then impacts on  seemingly unrelated outcomes such as crime, physical health, mental health and even life expectancy.

The great news from this research is that there is hope. Relationships can be repaired and the wider community can help with this.  Attachments can be forged with people out with family: teachers, police, youth workers, shop keepers, neighbours, community workers, volunteers and so one. These  figures – YOU –  in the community have the power to transform children’s lives and build resilience.   All it takes is small acts of kindness or unconditional love.

YOU in the community have the power to transform children’s lives and build resilience.   All it takes is small acts of kindness or unconditional love

This is where nature comes in.  We have an in built connection with nature that is primitive and hardwired.  Biologist E.O. Wilson describes this as ‘ the urge to affiliate with other forms of life’.  Wilson developed a theory around this called Biophilia which supports the idea that we are biologically hardwired to respond to nature.  We need it, just like we need social interactions.   Being in greenspace for even 10 minutes can help us focus better, a walk in the park can reduce symptoms of ADHD and depression, playing in wild spaces increases resilience and the list goes on.  Nature will always be there. A child can climb a tree and feel relaxed when life gets stressful or there is trauma at home. The tree, and nature in general, will provide some level of nurture and relief  to that child.

Sadly, children are becoming  more disconnected from the natural world than ever before, and they are suffering because of it.  Children need to have contact with nature and until fairly recently they have always had a relationship with the natural world.  If you go back in time you will find that children would have either played or worked on the land; we are now seeing the virtual disappearance of this type of childhood activity. Environmental writer Richard Louv has brought this to our attention in  his book Last Child in the Wood.  Louv coined the phrase Nature Deficit Disorder to explain the unhelpful behaviours associated with a lack of nature. Being in nature can reduce these symptoms and build resilience, happiness and well-being.  This makes it important for us to look at how we can structure our communities so as to increase children’s access to greenspaces and reconnecting childhood to the natural world.  This can happen locally in the heart of communities by cleaning up and utilising local wild and greenspaces.

Even more powerful though, is when both nature and relationships coexist like they do in the Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow. When the two factors – community and nature – come together we have something very special. When this happens the child is being nurtured by two of the strongest influences in their environment;  both of which build attachments and resilience.   Facilitated community activities bring these two elements together and can build a more nurturing and rich environment for children and the wider community.  I believe this is a great model for creating Awesome Childhood Experiences and I hope that more people take on their local wild spaces for changing childhood for the better.

by Emily Cutts

Halloween 27th October

Halloween is here again, and we’re delighted to celebrate it with everyone on the meadow and wood. Our lovely community have joined together to make this another halloween to remember. Come and join us on Saturday 27th on The Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow, 4pm onwards. You can:

  • Make a besom (traditional broomstick)
  • Lantern surgery, fix or finish your willow lantern –  buy a light for your lantern £1
  • Sample  delicious  halloween home baking made especially for you by members of our community.
  • Tam Dean Burn and Emma Schad will perform Julia Donaldson music
  • Tam Dean Burn will be reading Room on the Broom
  • Our wonderful G20 Youth Festival will act out a  short zombie/parkour show.
  • The labyrinth will be lit up for an evening experience.
  • Experience the spooky beedookit

If you made a lantern please bring it along, Caroline will be on the land from 3pm to repair lanterns or attach lights.  If you want a light we will be selling them for £1.


Children’s Wood Newsletter