The Friends of Easter Craiglockhart Hill say they were the very first friends group in Edinburgh looking after one of the important green spaces in the city.

Who are we? 

Friends of Easter Craiglockhart Hill comprise a Community Engagement Worker – Dan Rayner who works with volunteers Jim and Jenna Heath (Scrap team) and Erin Heath (Seeding & Planting co-ordinator).

Why is what you do important?

Our Metals-to-Petals initiative is important on several levels:

Firstly, the scrap metal we continue to find on the Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is a remnant of the site’s previous uses. We do not really find much recently fly-tipped metal, more stuff that has been discarded from the various phases of construction undertaken over the years, and from old fencing lines etc. Lots of this metal is hidden in thick undergrowth, some protruding from the ground, and most is rusty and sharp, or contains sections of rusty wire.

The metal poses an immediate danger to both humans and wildlife, it also leeches potentially harmful chemicals and minerals into the ground which could effect local soil and aspects of the food-chain.

The benefits include:

– Production of rewarding volunteering activity

– Improved mental & physical health & wellbeing

– Community engagement

– Reduction of environmental impact

– More beautiful and biodiverse woodland

What do you hope to achieve?

Our aim is simple: To remove all scrap metal material from the LNR and replace it with wildflowers and trees, to make the LNR a safer, healthier, and more beautiful place to visit, explore, and enjoy.

What form does your campaign have?

The scrap team (Jim, Jenna & Dan) conduct regular patrols of the LNR, identifying and collecting scrap metal, and removing it to cache sites for uplift. 

We then rent a van and transport the metal to recycling facilities, who pay us for it.

Profits are then directed towards the purchase of wildflower plugs and seeds. Seeds are planted and developed by Erin, assisted by various groups of volunteers, including FECH members and Duke of Edinburgh award scheme participants.

Planting plans are developed in liaison with the local CEC Natural Heritage officer, and with FECH trustees. We are also developing a wildflower map for future monitoring.

The initiative is sporadically reported on via our social media channels.

People reading this could help by…

Joining our group Friends of Easter Craiglockhart Hill on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, or on our website: www.eastercraiglockharthill.org 

People could also help by reporting any scrap metal which they spot through our website or social media channels.

And everyone could help by donating their time for volunteering – we are currently looking for people who can volunteer from home, growing on seeds until they are ready to plant out. This would suit keen gardeners and young families alike.

We are also introducing a volunteer Patrol scheme which provides a framework for identifying and reporting any issues around the LNR, including scrap metal. It is very easy to use and incorporate into everyday activities on the LNR.

The first two van loads of metal produced a profit of over £100, which went towards the purchase of primroses to add colour to our woodland trails, and to attract pollinators.

We almost have enough metal for a third and hopefully final van load, but who knows how much more metal we will unearth.