Gardeners have gone native

Stevenson students learn and bring positive changes with their hard work
Stevenson students learn and bring positive changes with their hard work
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A COMMUNITY wildlife garden featuring only native wildflowers is being created by city students.

Teenagers from Stevenson College Edinburgh have joined forces with the city council’s countryside ranger service to establish the garden, which will help create and maintain a habitat for bumblebees, moths, and butterflies in the Hermitage of Braid.

The students, who are aged between 16 and 19 and from the college’s Prep 4 Work course, are busy within the area’s historic walled garden – which can be traced back to when Hermitage House was built in 1788.

Major earth moving work began in February, with the next phase scheduled to start shortly. This will see the students helping to form footpaths and build fencing.

Steven Butchart, 18, is among the students involved in the project. He said: “Through the Prep 4 Work course, I’ve been able to get involved in some great community projects. I’ve helped clear away trees and debris from public places, taken part in litter picks, and I’ve also helped build fences.

“All these things help to keep the area clean, and makes a huge difference to the people who live there. Being part of the garden project will certainly help improve my skills. It’s also a fun way to finish my year here.”

The course, taught at Stevenson’s main campus in Sighthill, aims to give young people the help and confidence needed to secure a job independently.

Course lecturer Lynn McCraw said: “The walled garden project is just one of the voluntary opportunities we are involved in through the Prep 4 Work course.

“The students love getting involved in projects where they can see themselves making a difference, and this one is no exception.

“Their involvement in the walled garden project is an excellent opportunity, and Stevenson College Edinburgh is delighted to work with the City of Edinburgh Council on the scheme.”

The garden project is part of a partnership with community group Friends of the Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill.

Jessica Morgado, countryside ranger for the city council, added: “This project has been designed so as to involve as many community and volunteer groups as possible, and we were delighted when Stevenson College Edinburgh came on board.

“Students will focus on the construction of a section of fence to protect the wildflowers from being damaged by dogs. Students will tend to the garden, and we are confident they will excel in this aspect of work as they have excelled in other voluntary projects they have been involved in.”

laura.cummings@edinburghnews.com