Newsletter – March 2017

Explore the big Biosphere ideas in this edition of Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere news!
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Spring - A time of new beginnings for the Biosphere

Over the last three years the Biosphere team of officers have delivered on the themes of conserving and enhancing the natural heritage, supporting sustainable development and promoting knowledge and public awareness of the natural environment in this special corner of Scotland. The variety of projects delivered, the wide geographical spread, and the range of people networked with is striking. Considerable progress has been made in the last three years and gratifyingly, even in difficult financial times, this has been recognised by public authorities and agencies.
Going forward will see changes. We say goodbye to Nic Coombey our Communities and Learning Officer who will be working full time on a coastal project with Solway Firth Partnership. Southern Uplands Partnership will be taking on the Co-ordination of the Biosphere and we welcome Ed Forrest in as the new co-ordinator, a role previously carried out by Simon Fieldhouse from Dumfries and Galloway Council. Ed has been involved with the Biosphere since 2010, initially as a project officer himself, and most recently managing the Biosphere team employed through SUP.
The next phase of delivery comes at a time of change with our rural communities facing new challenges and uncertainty . We must ensure that we use the biosphere ethos to promote a long-term, sustainable perspective, confident that there are many people in south-west Scotland who share our priorities.

Joan Mitchell (Chair Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Partnership Board)

You can find the latest report reflecting back on the last 3 years of the work of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere by clicking on  case study report 

New Ken-Dee Biosphere Route Map

A third Biosphere route has now been added to the website. Developed to give a flavour of all aspects of the Biosphere the routes are based around the natural assets provided by rivers and lochs at: Loch Doon and Carrick Forest Drive; Loch Trool and the Cree Valley; and now, Loch Ken and the River Dee.
The Loch Ken and River Dee is a 35 mile circular route starting from Castle Douglas and include a range of attractions that focus on special qualities of the Biosphere; wildlife and natural beauty, heritage and culture, inspiration, tranquillity, local produce and most importantly recreation and enjoyment. 
Look out for the leaflets helping you explore the Biosphere where you can discover nature and landscapes as well as the big Biosphere ideas of conservation, learning and development. You can find all the routes at
If you would like Biosphere Leaflets to display or give out to your customers or visitors. Please email so we can arrange to get some sent to you. 

First to Reach for the Stars

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere is to be the location for the first ever Dark Sky Places Conference to be held in Europe. The event, being held 20th to 22 Sept 2017, will bring together some of the world’s top dark sky experts with the aim of promoting rural development, tourism and tackling light pollution issues.

Forming the heart of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, the Dark Sky Park is an integral part of the Biosphere and between them they offer a 24/7 attraction in south west Scotland, offering the opportunity to celebrate and explore the regions landscapes and wildlife during the day and the dark skies at night.

All the partners involved will be working together to ensure the conference is a success and showcases Galloway as a great place to live, work and play.

Charter sign-ups hit the 200 mark!

The Biosphere Charter sign-ups has reached the 200 mark. Some of our latest businesses and organisations to become proud supporters include The Red Kite Centre, Yogascotia, provider of yoga classes in Ayrshire, Ecotherapy Scotland who offers people the chance to experience wild camping and ancient woodland crafts, St Ninian's Priory Church, the oldest continual place of Christian worship in Scotland and Cults Cults Cottage Holidays of Whithorn, a self-catering accommodation with views to the Galloway Hills. Many of our local businesses are inspired by the natural beauty of the Biosphere and new Charter sign-ups artist Val Harrison of Rie Designed and illustrator Iain Roy of Whithorn are such businesses, showcasing amazing local wildlife in its habitat within their work.

If you are already a ‘Proud Biosphere Supporter’ why not encourage others to do the same. Share the link:

Land Managment Workshops

The Natural Heritage Biosphere team recently held two workshops for land managers, one in Maybole, one at Kirroughtree. The workshops were split into two sessions, first looking at habitat management, principally High Focus Habitats of the Biosphere, following on with a run through of what is required to complete a high quality application for Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS). The farmers present were from a range of farm types and interests and from all across the Biosophere. Lively and informative discussions took place in both workshops on practicalities of habitat management and scheme participation.
On everyone’s mind at the moment is of course Brexit and what lies ahead and everyone was in agreement that now is an important time to take stock of what you have and how you can best protect and promote it. We plan to hold further discussions on this to help farmers in the Biosphere to get ‘ahead of the game’. If you are interested in joining these discussions please email us with your details.
We plan to hold further workshops in the future and some farm walks during the summer, where we will be able to visit various farmland habitats to look at the practicalities of habitat management and enhancement along with examples of management within the SRDP AECS scheme. If you are interested in attending, or hosting a farm walk, or a future workshop please email us and we can contact you with further details at:

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