Biosphere Newsletter – December 2022

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Welcome to our December 2022 newsletter...

Season's greetings to all our friends across the Biosphere and beyond! This is our last mailout of 2022 so we'd like to take the opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone that has connected with and supported Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere this year, and to all the organisations, schools and community groups we have worked alongside.

For regular updates on ongoing projects, find us on social media via the links at the bottom of this page. Any feedback on our features, or is there something you'd like to know more about? Contact our team via  

Our autumn-winter calendar has been busy and one of our favourite events was the MaD (Making & Doing) Festival of Creativity in November. The photo below was taken by Malcolm who went to a blacksmithing demo at the MAC-CAN Croft and we love how it captures the joy of getting hands on and learning new things.

Hot on the heels of The State of the Biosphere Report, our second landmark publication of 2022 launched in November: our Learning for Sustainability Toolkit, which was created in partnership with Girvan Primary School. Teacher Sarah Blackie (pictured below in the left hand pic) contributed a whole spectrum of activities that help children connect with and understand wildlife and environmental issues, and the toolkit was put together with the goal of using our UNESCO Biosphere as a giant classroom, teaching resource, and source of creative inspiration! Ms Blackie was presented with the very first Biosphere Champion Award at our AGM on 1st December for her incredible work on the toolkit and for making the GSA Biosphere come alive for so many young learners. Thanks to everyone who joined us at the very special launch event at Girvan Primary, including South Ayrshire Council's Director of Education, Lyndsay McRoberts.


Click to read more about our Learning for Sustainability launch
We're absolutely thrilled to close 2022 by welcoming Barrhill as our newest Biosphere Community - the third to be designated in South Ayrshire and the eighth in our region as a whole. Please do check out the link below to find out more about the village and what we explored with local residents in their Sense of Place workshop earlier this year. These photos were taken at Barrhill's Christmas Fair where Jenna and Tamara from our team grabbed a few stocking fillers and some delicious home baking. If you are part of a Community Council or Development Trust anywhere in the GSA Biosphere and would like us to visit for a chat about the Biosphere Communities scheme, please get in touch via  

Click here to explore the Biosphere Community of Barrhill
Our AGM was held at Biosphere-certified Home Cook School in Kirkoswald at the beginning of the month and it was our pleasure to welcome members of the public to an open afternoon session of presentations by our Chair, Director, and core staff. We were joined by Girvan Academy's Eco-Team who won The Provost's School Footprint Challenge this year for their awesome work in spreading the message of carbon reduction and the value of southwest Scotland's UNESCO Biosphere designation. A true inspiration to listen to young people talk about the local environmental action that they are undertaking in extremely limited free time. 

Click here to find out more about the Biosphere's Partnership Board and Trustees
The 100-year nature restoration programme underway at Threave Estate, Castle Douglas provides a wealth of opportunities for sharing experiences and ideas in land manageent. Thanks to Estate Manager David, Ranger Phil, and the rest of the Threave team for having us along again over two days in November to see the latest work on making the area accessible to visitors in a nature-friendly, low impact way. We learned a lot about how grazing of livestock can be adapted to support wildlife, and it was especially good to hear about species that are already benefiting from changes that have been made just in the last twelve months. 

Click here to read about our most recent visit to Threave Estate
Christmas is bearing down upon us and while we're staying festively cheerful, we are well aware this is a hugely difficult time for individuals, families, communities and businesses. If you are in need of help or think you might be soon, please do take a look at some of the local organisations that may be able to help.

Third Sector D&G - includes a map of Warm Spaces
Cost of Living D&G - a new one-stop website that signposts support
Energy Agency - for free, impartial advice on managing efficiency and costs at home and in business
East Ayrshire Council - Cost of Living support
Voluntary Action South Ayrshire - connect and discuss local initiatives including Warm Spaces

Not a recent photo but one we love - Woodhead lead mine at Carsphairn in the snow.


Finally...a warm welcome to all the individuals, businesses and community groups that have signed up as Proud Supporters of our UNESCO Biosphere recently. They include artist Allan McNally, whose studio is in the Biosphere Community of Colmonell; Steilhead Cider, a family-run business in Nithsdale using homegrown apples for cider and juice; Energy Agency (mentioned above), who work with local authorities across the whole of southwest Scotland to provide advice on energy, transport and sustainability; Lizzie and team at Galloway View, luxury holiday cottages on Scotland's UNESCO Trail; and the Three Villages Cafe, run by and for the communities of Keir, Penpont and Tynron. The commitment of local people to sustainability is amazing and we believe it demonstrates how southwest Scotland can be a model of better living at home and abroad. Please do check out our Proud Supporters map below to see all the businesses that are members of our Proud Supporters scheme.
Click here to meet our Proud Supporter businesses and plan your next shopping trip, food & drink experience or Biosphere adventure
Don't forget that we're social! Follow our daily news and activities via the links below:
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