A new wildlife viewing screen with artwork inspired by the natural and cultural heritage of Clackmanannshire will be officially unveiled today at RSPB Scotland Black Devon Wetlands.
The viewing screen is part of a range of new facilities that have been installed, including signs and easy-access paths. Work has also been underway to improve the site for wildlife, with the creation of new ponds and wetland areas.
At the heart of the new facilities is a striking viewing screen, which was designed by Civic Architects. Constructed from steel and larch it has 12 individual laser-cut panels created by Edinburgh artist Astrid Jaekel, which celebrate local wildlife and cultural heritage through the changing seasons.
All work has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI), and through the contribution of LIFE+ as part of the EcoCo project.
RSPB Scotland Regional Director Anne McCall, said: "Black Devon Wetlands may be small, but it has a key role to play as part of the wider Inner Forth landscape, which is of global importance for wildlife.
"Since the RSPB took over the site in 2015, we've been keen to make improvements to the natural habitats. But we also wanted to create a site that was accessible to a wide range of visitors, so that people could come here and enjoy the birds and other wildlife, as well as the spectacular landscape and views.
"The new viewing screen with its beautiful panels really captures the importance of this area for a huge range of species throughout the year, and we're grateful to the funders who have contributed to this project, and allowed this work to happen."
Black Devon Wetlands is important for birds such as snipe, teals, and kestrels, and is also a great place to hear grasshopper warblers, whose calls sound like a fishing reel unwinding.
The site is already popular with locals and walkers, and it is hoped that the new amenities will encourage more people to visit the site and become involved in its long-term future.
Tom Churchyard, IFLI Programme Manager, said: "IFLI's aim is to reconnect more people with this fantastic and unique landscape at the heart of Scotland. We hope that the work that has been done through the Initiative at RSPB Black Devon Wetlands will encourage lots more people to visit, and discover what a great place they have just a few minutes from home."
Black Devon Wetlands were originally created when soil was excavated from the site to cap an adjacent area of landfill. Its managed lagoons were first formed by Clackmannanshire Heritage Trust, and these were then extended in the mid 2000s by the council's landfill project.
Regular events will be held at Black Devon Wetlands throughout the year, and people are encouraged to report sightings, or to become involved in the site through volunteering. To find out more, contact warden Allison Leonard on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rspb.org.uk/blackdevonwetlands.
· The RSPB is the UK's largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.
· The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative is a partnership of RSPB Scotland (lead agency), Scottish Natural Heritage (Chair), Falkirk Council, Stirling Council, Clackmannanshire Council, Central Scotland Forest Trust, Historic Scotland, and Sustrans. Other organisations contribute knowledge, expertise and links to the community through working groups and other meetings. Its intention is to reveal the hidden cultural, historical and natural wealth of the upper reaches of the Firth of Forth, restore and conserve important features, open up access, provide skills training and ultimately leave a legacy of a richer landscape and new facilities for all.
· The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative website is at http://www.innerforthlandscape.co.uk/