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27 December 2020


Scottish environment charity WWF Scotland is highlighting the iconic species and plants to be found in Scotland’s greenspaces in winter and calling on people to brave the weather and get out in nature on their doorstep if they can, to help boost wellbeing.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the distance the majority of us can travel for much of the year, and so the nature near our homes is even more important to our physical and mental health. [1]

While restrictions affect where we can travel, WWF Scotland has come up with a list of animals, birds and plants you can look out for wherever you are. Whether you’re local to the Falls of Clyde or Water of Leith for spotting dippers, or the Moray Firth for dolphins, or enjoy time in your community garden to spot holly or snowdrops, wherever you are, there is something in nature for everyone.

Things to look out for on your winter wander include:

Holly:  holly bushes can be male and female, but only the female plants have red berries

Snowdrops: these are the first wildflowers to appear each year

Dippers: these birds are able to stay underwater for up to 30 seconds

Robin: common bird found across Scotland

Otters: can be found in lochs, rivers and the sea

Hedgehog: they are typically found in gardens, parks and greenspaces

Red Squirrel: can be found in gardens, woodlands and parks

Dr Sheila George, Food and Environment Policy Manager at WWF Scotland said:

“The past year has been incredibly challenging in many different ways, however one constant through it all has been the ability of nature to heal and restore our spirits. From the Black Isle to Burntisland and the Western Isles to Wester Hailes, people have been relying on green space for exercise, mental health and wellbeing.

“Even a wee bit of fresh air, some greenery or a hint of birdsong can really help keep us going, whatever the weather. This winter we’re encouraging people to get outside, take a wander close to where they live and spot the nature on their doorstep.

“As we start to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, restoring and protecting nature can be a vital part of our green recovery, with tree planting and restoring important carbon-rich habitats like peatlands presenting ample opportunities for supporting jobs and skills in Scotland’s rural economy. And ensuring people have access to greenspace, where nature is protected and valued, is key. Nature gives us so much- let’s make sure it’s at the heart of our decision making.”

This January, WWF is encouraging people across the UK to take a walk with a difference as part of The Big Winter Wander.  You can sign up to get a spotter pack and help raise funds to protect nature around the world. [2]

Notes to Editor

[1] Thriving with Nature- making the most of the UK’s natural spaces for mental health and wellbeing

[2] WWF-UK’s Big Winter Wander