The Tweed Valley Ospreys Project (TVOP) is 10 years old this year. And Friends of Kailzie Wildlife has won Awards for All cash to create a book about the work with Innerleithen schoolchildren the same age as the project.
The £8,650 will go towards producing 10,000 coffee table style books with professional photographs and written by the 10-year-old children of St Ronan’s Primary School.
Project officer Diane Bennett said: “It is a really exciting project to work on and the kids have thrown themselves fully into it. I have been delighted at how much they have learnt about the Tweed Valley Ospreys already.”
Diane is working with the Primary 4 and 5 pupils in the school.
“They have been out to visit the osprey centre and have been researching all about the ospreys raised each year at the main nest and the ringing records of the chicks, “ she said.
TVOP was set up by Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS), Kailzie Gardens and RSPB, with support from Scottish Natural to protect nesting ospreys and encourage them to settle and breed in the area.
The project put up artificial nest platforms in safe locations in the late 1990s, hoping ospreys returning on migration would choose them ... and the first pair settled at the main nest 10 years ago.
Cameras were installed and the project worked with Kailzie Gardens, Forestry Commission Scotland and the Tweed Forum to set up two watch centres at Kailzie and Glentress. The first images of the nest were beamed back in April 2004 and last year equipment was upgraded to high definition cameras.
Two of the children involved in the anniversary project will be picked to be at the osprey ringing of the main nest chicks this year.
Copies of the 32-page book will be given free to children at Peeblesshire schools. The remainder will be available from the osprey centres, the library and museum in Peebles and further afield.
Diane said: “The aim of the project is to produce a colour souvenir book to celebrate the conservation success story of Tweed Valley Ospreys and the 10-year anniversary of the ‘main nest’ pair of birds.”
The children will research and produce the artwork, text, timeline and stories for the book, design the cover and suggest a title for the book as a competition.
There will also be an exhibition of all the children’s work later this year and the children hope to produce a film to be shown in the viewing centres.
Diane added: “We want to tell the story of the main osprey pair which have been the ‘stars’ of the live camera which has relayed ‘live’ images to the two osprey watch centres at Glentress Forest and Kailzie Gardens for the past 10 years,” she said.
The book is scheduled for publication next month and set to be launched at the Kailzie Wildlife Festival at the beginning of August.
Diane said: “It’s been all about the Lochgarten and Loch of the Lowes birds, while the ones in the Borders quietly get on and breed, and there are no dramas. It’s high time we celebrate them.”