Midlothian Guerrilla Gardeners kids collect award for work

Friday September 15th 2023

Danderhall Guerilla Gardeners

Danderhall Guerrilla Gardeners youngsters were awarded for their work on community spaces.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A community gardens project which introduces school children in Midlothian to nature has received a prestigious award.

Danderhall and District Guerrilla Gardeners Kids Project has received a Grow and Learn in Nature award from the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.

The national organisation was so impressed with the work which was carried out at one of the town’s public garden spaces they sent their education officer along to take part in some of the work.

And this week 45 youngsters from Danderhall’s P5 were presented with their award certificate to mark all their hard work.

The volunteer group formed during lockdown to represent its local community after it united against the use of pesticide by Midlothian Council.

It signed an agreement with the local authority to take over maintenance of public spaces so they were not sprayed with toxic chemicals.

The RCHS Grow and Learn in Nature (GLiN)award is a project-based award for groups who make their outdoor spaces more nature friendly.

It is the second time the group has been awarded for its work with a Keep Scotland Beautiful award last year.

Helen Graham from the Guerrilla Gardeners said the work received support from grants to help it grow and work with local youngsters.

She said: “Essential grants from Action Earth and Stewart Milne Homes made it possible for us to bring wildlife of every kind into the village, to compensate for the loss of their habitats with all of the housing developments around us.

“We have planted and chosen carefully our hedgerows and plants, those that are beneficial to wildlife and pollinators and to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies and bees.

“We’ve installed a water source and with a pesticide ban in our gardens, choosing the correct soil and composts helps protect essential mini-beasts and worms that are vital in the growing of healthy plants.”

RCHS education officer Emma Griffiths joined youngsters working on the community’s Maulsford garden, which involved P5 youngsters in creating a haven for wildlife.

Emma said: “We at RCHS were so impressed with this unique project in Danderhall, l just had to be involved.

“This past year, l’ve seen all of the children so keen to learn and loving to be outdoors looking after their environment.

“The Guerrilla kids have been planting for bees and butterflies, testing soils for a healthy bug life, learning of the dangers of pesticides, keeping their village clear of plastics in their litter-picking sessions, making bird feeders and bug hotels, and planting vegetables in their fabulous allotment.

“What the Guerrilla Gardeners do as a group and with the Kids‘ project offers everyone the opportunity to connect with nature, developing an appreciation and understanding of their natural environment and the importance of it to all of us. They are very worthy GLiN award winners”

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