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Discover your wild side


Isn't this a wonderful time of year to get outdoors? The old "no such thing as bad weather" saying has never been truer than in autumn. One minute you are overdressed in a woolly hat because the sun has come out and it's suddenly roasting and then the next you're realising you should have brought your waterproof or your brolly after all.


We've got a couple of events coming up which I think will probably live up to their "sturdy footwear required" recommendation. Next week we'll be out getting creative in the Neilsland & Earnock Community Woodlands one of South Lanarkshire Council's new Local Nature Reserves on both Wednesday and Thursday (19th & 20th October). We're working with the fabulous Jill of Drawing on Green Spaces fame, to gather as we go. October is the perfect time to collect autumnal treasures, and there are plenty of things to collect along the nature trail and through the woods! Just check out the local facebook group to see some of the things people have been noticing. Most exciting to me are the shaggy ink cap mushrooms, who really do produce ink. I don't know if you have ever noticed but an ink cap starts its life bright and white, yet very quickly turns dirty and raggedy and then black and mushy. This is the gills of the mushroom digesting itself and the process is called deliquescing; the liquid produced are the spores. However if you capture one and take it home and leave it to deliquesce in a tub, then you'll end up with a liquid you can use to write or paint with. In fact according to The Woodland Trust website the ink from the common inkcap used to be used for important documents to prevent forgery, as the spores could be detected under a microscope. How amazing! If Jill has been super lucky and been able to collect some then on the Thursday we'll be encouraging people to get creative and make some marks using both the natural ink and a paintbrush made from foraged nature - a feather, a leaf, a twig. And now you know that whatever we create will be an original and will not be able to be forged! If you're local to the Neilsland & Earnock Woodland then please sign up to come along. The sessions are free but you do need to book. Find out more here.


Then for people in East Kilbride on Sunday 22nd we've got the second in our series of walks from the Glen Esk Pocket Park. Again, aimed at getting local people familiar with the greenspaces on their doorstep, we'll be encouraging you to discover your wild side. We'll trek the grassy paths and tree covered tracks that not everyone treads admiring the reds and golds of Autumn. Our walk leader is Jackie Reid, local resident, keen walker and nature noticer. She'll be there to guide us on our way and to point out some of the treasures it can be easy to miss. You can book your spot here.


This is all part of our Get Outdoors South Lanarkshire project funded by Smarter Choices Smarter Places, working in partnership with the South Lanarkshire Countryside Rangers - keep your eye on their facebook page (as well as our own) for information on upcoming events across the new local nature reserves.


As you know by now, I love this time of year, my pockets are full of conkers, acorns and sycamore seeds, perhaps I was a squirrel in a former life as the autumn brings out all my hoarding instincts. I'm sure it's not only me, so join us on one of our adventures to see what we can find.

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