Froglife for positive life

By Col Stocker

Getting young children involved in conserving their local green spaces can really help transform the lives of some of the most disadvantaged young people.

Sheila Gundry from conservation charity Froglife applied for support from the Alpkit Foundation to help towards their Scottish Green Pathways project. Within this they work with vulnerable and disadvantaged young people across a wide swathe of Scotland to improve their confidence, social skills, knowledge and appreciation of wildlife, especially amphibians and reptiles, and their transferable skills through practical projects to improve their own local greenspaces.

It was great to receive an update from Sheila on how things have been going.

“It’s difficult to summarise just how valuable this project is to some of the young people we’ve worked with, for our project officers to see the young people we work with grow in themselves, become more confident in being outdoors, enjoying being outdoors and taking joy in the wildlife and habitats we see and improve upon during sessions.”

“I wanted to say thank you for everything you’ve done for me I really appreciate it. You helped me with my emotions…..I found it hard to socialise with my classmates but I’m getting there.” H, Toryglen Primary School.

The project began in 2014 as a pilot to see how young people in Glasgow could benefit from this type of work and has grown year on year to the wider project we deliver now. They have now worked with hundreds of young people, children and families during this time.

“It’s all thanks to funders like the Alpkit Foundation who have provided a grant to enable us to bring in gloves, tools, materials and everything needed for young people to create new spaces for wildlife in their local area with us. We encourage and help them to build ponds, bog gardens, bug hotels, wildflower meadows and learn about the wildlife on their doorstep through outdoor educational sessions. It will make a massive difference to Glasgows green spaces, creating wilder areas for the whole community to benefit from and enjoy."

Case Study 1

“It was great to make the pop-up ponds! I had lots of fun!” R, 12, Lambhill Stables.

Staff at Froglife have worked with R at various clubs and schools around the Milton/Lambhill area since 2017 and have built up an excellent relationship with him. After lockdown ended and we were able to see him again at Lambhill Stables he was very pleased to see our staff member and catch up with everything that’s happened. He had gone through a difficult period in 2019 and we worked with the other clubs he attended to address some behavioural issues he was experiencing. He is doing very well and has confidently moved into S1 in September 2021. This long-term work is an amazing output for the Glasgow Green Pathways project and one of the most enjoyable parts of delivering the project, seeing young people grow and learn over multiple years and building lasting relationships with them.

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