Wildflower surveys support canal biodiversity

Our summer-long biodiversity projects returned to the Union Canal in Edinburgh this month to help monitor bumblebee and wildflower populations along the historic waterway. Anna Canning from Floramedica, our resident expert in all things botanical, leads our monthly wildflower surveys where volunteers ID and monitor the flora and fauna thriving by the canal. Back from the first outing of the year with a new group of enthusiastic volunteers, here are Anna’s thoughts on the first survey!

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Sunshine and smiling faces – and a smashing first wildflower survey of the season on the Union Canal at Fountainbridge on Saturday 3rd June. Six of us got up close and personal with the vegetation on the canalside, and identified 24 species in a verdant 20-metre plot (not including grasses, sedges, mosses or ferns). Many thanks to all our volunteer citizen scientists.

We’ll be running 6 surveys in total, covering three plots, each of which we’ll examine twice between early June and late October. The data we generate will contribute to the work of the Urban Flora of Scotland Project, which is run jointly by the Botanical Society of Scotland and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh.

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Learning to identify wild plants in a group like this is a great way to develop your skills (or share your skills if you’re already a seasoned botanist!) in an informal, sociable environment. New members always welcome! The project operates on a drop-in basis, so you don’t have to commit to attending all the sessions. Join us for our next outing on Saturday 1st July, and learn how to spot your trefoils from your trifilids! 

This wildflower survey was kindly supported by the Vegware Community Fund and the Adobe Employee Community Fund.