Schools, community groups and individuals who care about the local environment and heritage are being invited to join together and regenerate natural habitats along Edinburgh’s 27km coastline from Port Edgar to Joppa. By connecting with scientists and conservationists in the new Shoreline project everyone who lives, works or plays in the area will have the chance to celebrate the area’s relationship with the sea and the plants and animals to be found along the coast.
Over the next 12 months there will be opportunities to search for little-known species, explore rock pools and mudflats, undertake practical conservation work and much more. Communities will be given the chance to tell their own stories in different ways along the shoreline and through a major summer exhibition at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).
The Shoreline project has been developed by Karen Chambers, Vice Chair of Scottish Wildlife Trust; historian and researcher Elspeth Wills and Leonie Alexander, Urban Biodiversity Project Officer at RBGE who wanted to see Edinburgh’s profile raised as a coastal city. It is now being headed-up by RBGE and its partners in Edinburgh Living Landscape (ELL). The Shoreline sets out to be a fun-laden adventure tackling serious challenges faced by all inhabiting the coast. Ultimately its aim is to deliver a legacy for the human, animal and plant communities along the way to Joppa.
Project Manager Charlotte Johnson, based at RBGE, explained: “Over many decades, Edinburgh’s relationship with the sea has weakened, to the detriment of its citizens, landscapes, plants and wildlife. Our coast is now a strange mix of areas of dereliction, industry, forgotten beaches, with new developments and fresh possibilities.
“Rather than just another initiative laid out by the professionals, this is an opportunity for Edinburgh’s coastal communities to work with scientists, artists and filmmakers to explore and celebrate the rich cultural and natural heritage. It will consider the omnipresent relationship of the Shoreline with the city and to forge new openings for a greener future. The role of RBGE and its partners will be to support communities in developing their own ambitions for this coast.”
Leonie Alexander added: There is so much to discover along the Edinburgh coast, from the rich bird life to amazing rock pools, sea grass beds, remnant coastal plants hanging on to sea defences and pink grasshoppers. There is also the potential for so much more.”
The action kicks-off with a community representative forum at the Garden on March 29. Hosted by Creative Carbon Scotland – and with input from artists – it provides a chance to learn more about the project, explore how community ideas for the exhibition can be creatively presented and meet others interested in making change for the better. The event is free but must be booked through Eventbrite.
Highlights of the coming months will include a Shoreline exhibition at RBGE July 23 to September 23. Anyone who would like to get involved in any way can contact Charlotte Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org
This initiative is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Green Infrastructure Community Engagement Fund, administered by Scottish Natural Heritage on behalf of the Scottish Government.