TV lichen guru Sally to talk at Peeblesshire weekend wildlife festival next week

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Channel 4 presenter Sally Eaton will talk about her career and passion for lichen at next weekend’s Kailzie Wildlife Festival.

The expert from the television programme Wild Things will also lead a walk around the gardens looking at wildlife and lichens and explaining why they are important indicators of ecosystem health, following her talk on Sunday.

The second of three wildlife festivals, part of the KLAWED project, the weekend event takes place at Kailzie Gardens near Peebles from 10.30am on Saturday.

Project officer Rachel McAleese said: “We want to encourage as many local people as possible to come along and visit one of the treasures of the Borders, Kailzie estate. We hope people will find something during the weekend that takes their interest or inspires a new one. We also hope people will come to realise that Kailzie, and the Osprey and Nature Viewing Centre there, is the perfect place for allowing everyone to engage with nature through its facilities and fantastic surroundings.

“People look to the north of Scotland for wildlife holidays and prime viewing opportunities, but it is important that people realise what we have here on our doorstep. Many of the local schools are heavily involved in wildlife education and conservation and often the children are passing on their knowledge to their parents and relatives.

“It is vital to understand and appreciate the nature around us so that we know how to alter our actions and how best to proceed for the future sustainabilty of all our local wildlife and plant species.

Over the weekend there will be nature storytelling for young children and games on offer all day, including the new youngsters’ wildlife spotters trail, and there will be a duck race and burn dipping when, Rachel said: “We hope to find pond skaters, whirligig beetles, stonefly larvae and a whole lot more.”

On Saturday morning Butterfly Conservation Scotland’s Rueben Singleton will be moth trapping and talking about the species found. British Trust for Ornithology bird ringer Stuart Craig will set nets up and ring birds which fly into it, likely to be nuthatch, sparrows, wagtails, greenfinches, coal tits and others.

Osprey project officer Di Bennett will be finding out what’s crawled into the small mammal traps overnight on Sunday morning.

Rachel said: “We expect to find field mice and field voles and this is something the kids always love seeing.”

Local birder Hennie Bakkes will talk about birds in the gardens and help people learning how to identify their calls, and Tweed Valley Forest Festival coordinator Chris Sawers will lead heritage tree walks, council rangers will help festival-goers make bird and bat boxes. There will be talks (and live osprey footage) in the osprey viewing centre, many local wildlife organisations, crafts and retail stalls, local food and live music.

Organisers have dropped entry prices for this year’s event and there is a free shuttle bus from Peebles. For more information, visit www.kailziewildlife.org