Huge volunteer effort hailed at Stirling National Nature Reserves

18 December 2023

Volunteers chalked up more than 200 working days at National Nature Reserves (NNRs) in the Stirling area this year.

NatureScot staff who look after Blawhorn Moss, Flanders Moss and Loch Lomond NNRs have thanked volunteer helpers for their amazing contribution in 2023.

From practical maintenance to surveying wildlife, volunteers play a hugely important role in the running of the reserves.

Amee Hood, NatureScot’s Nature Reserve Manager for the three NNRs, said: “Our volunteers do an incredible amount of work behind the scenes to help us protect and restore nature at these sites.

“One of the biggest challenges we have is dealing with invasive non-native species and our volunteers have spent many hours helping us with this unglamorous but essential task. Thanks to their efforts, we’ve also found some new clusters of Himalayan balsam and skunk cabbage in areas that we hadn’t previously identified, allowing us to get on top of these invasive plants before they spread.

“We can’t thank them enough for giving an amazing 200 days of their time this year to help us with this kind of essential work – we simply couldn’t do it without them!”

This year has been a busy one across the three Stirling area reserves. Staff welcomed more than 150 people to a full programme of events across the three sites in 2023, from moth trapping to pond dipping. More than 100 children and adults have also attended sessions organised for a range of local community organisations.

Blawhorn Moss NNR has seen a large increase in visitors this year following improvements to the infrastructure at the reserve – including a new tarmac access road and boardwalk extension. Hen harriers appear to have had an increased presence in the area, with members of the public regularly spotting them, while 2023 was a particularly good year for sightings of adders at Flanders Moss NNR. Meanwhile at Loch Lomond NNR, a great white egret, a rarer visitor to the reserve, was also spotted this year.

To keep up to date with all the latest news from the reserves, follow the 2 bogs, a swamp and some islands blog.