The John Muir Pollinator Vision project has received a boost of £5,000 from the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) 2015 Ideas Fund.

Buglife Scotland, which is behind the innovative project, scooped the top prize in the CSGN 2015 Ideas Fund. The John Muir Pollinator Vision was selected by delegates at the CSGN Annual Forum from a shortlist of three which also included the Urban Oats project by NADFLY Studio and Greenspace Scotland with its Young Place Changers project.

The winning initiative aims to work with communities in Central Scotland to conserve wild pollinator populations including bees, hoverflies and butterflies, along the John Muir Way.

This will be done through the creation of a B-Lines map, the first in Scotland, which will follow the route from Helensburgh in the West to Dunbar in the East.  This map will be used to enrich different areas of the route with wildflowers and nesting habitats which will benefit wildlife and local communities as well as providing a nature-rich experience for those visiting the popular trail for walking and cycling.

It is hoped that the project, though enhancing the green infrastructure, will also benefit the urban communities close to the John Muir Way, many of which are in the top 15% deprived areas in Scotland.

The funding will allow Buglife Scotland to identify 10 key urban stretches along the route which would benefit from greater habitat connectivity for pollinators. Workshops and training activities will also be held to engage with local groups and communities, encouraging people of all ages to get involved.

Commenting on the win, Scott Shanks, Conservation Officer at Buglife, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded this funding from the CSGN Ideas Fund. It will play a pivotal role in the start of our exciting project to increase the wild pollinator population along one of Scotland’s most renowned trails.

“The disappearance of wildflower-rich grassland has been significant and in Scotland we have seen declines in 54% of wildflower species, which has had a drastic effect on our pollinators. Through our project we hope to not only enhance the natural heritage of the area and support Scotland’s pollinators but also to support and enhance neighbouring communities.”

Keith Geddes, Chair of the CSGNT, said: “As Europe’s largest greenspace initiative, we aim to support organisations in delivering the green network on the ground and Buglife is an extremely worthy winner of the CSGN Ideas Fund. The John Muir Way is a key flagship of ours which we launched last year and it is fantastic that Buglife has chosen to support the trail.”

As one of the Scottish Government’s national developments for Scotland in the third National Planning Framework, the CSGN is changing the face of Central Scotland, by restoring, transforming and greening the landscape of an area stretching from Ayrshire and Inverclyde in the west, to Fife and the Lothians in the east.

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