On the 19th June we organised an Aspen refresh workshop for our project that focusses on the identification and location surveying of Aspen in West Lothian. This project is in association with Eadha trees who we have been working in partnership with throughout this project. Other activities that have been included in this project are the Aspen in the Classroom and the propagation of Wild Scottish Aspen with Scouts and volunteers. You can read up on these activities in some of our other Blog posts.

The Aspen refresh workshop took place in Beecraigs Country Park where we invited new volunteers into the project and welcomed other active volunteers to come along if they needed updates. On the day of the workshop we were glad to find the weather was conducive to an outdoor workshop and walk, and we welcomed some 4-legged friends to join us on our quest!

At the start of the workshop Luke set out to inform everyone on the identification features for the Aspen and the aims of the project/why Aspen are important to our rivers. We are trying to find them in West Lothian to determine if they are of Scottish origin. Currently the majority of the Aspen in Scotland has been planted and is not native, and wild Scottish Aspen is actually very rare. Most of the Scottish trees are located in the North, so it is part of the project to survey all Aspen to try and find some of Scottish origin in West Lothian. This includes volunteers signing on for 1km squares to search them fully and send location data back to us. If wild Aspen are found, cuttings can be taken and then propagated to be kept in a seedbank.

Armed with all the information we headed out for a walk within the park to locate some Aspen and came across it quite quickly! In the Country Park it was, of course, planted but the specimens showed the identification features of the Aspen well, including the cloning, diamond shaped pores on the bark and leaves that quivered in the slight breeze. Once they had their eye in it was easy for our volunteers to spot them as we walked around the park! If you too would like to be able to identify Aspen, then you can get in touch to get involved in the project. We also have a video on our Youtube channel of the original workshop. Head here to watch! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S32z4RN8e0o