Bogs and Bees! CEI launches two NEW projects for East Ayrshire’s nature

The East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative (CEI) is launching two new projects in June 2020 and we hope YOU will take part.

(c) Alex Black
Bumblebee feasting on heathers on a bog (c) Alex Black

Both projects will involve working with local people to create or enhance habitats for wildlife; Perfect Peatlands aims to improve important peatland habitats, and the Coalfields for Pollinators project will create new habitat for our threatened bees, butterflies, moths and other flying critters. The projects will take place over two years (2020 – 2022) and there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved, whether you are a volunteer, local group, land owner, educator or young person.

Perfect Peatlands is a project for everyone. Healthy peatland habitats are important in fighting climate change, can improve water quality, reduce local flooding impacts, and provide homes for wildlife. They are a vital part of our landscape even if you can only observe their understated beauty at a distance. If you would like to get close and personal with peatlands and their awesome wildlife, we can guide you in discovering, learning and volunteering. We need help to record the special nature of local bogs (rain-fed peatlands with deep peat soils) and will also be working with local land managers and specialist contractors to see that damaged peatlands are restored and managed for the future.

Peatland contractors construction peat dams at Airds Moss in 2015 (c) CEI

Coalfields for Pollinators is a very important project because our native pollinators are in trouble! Pollinating insects such as bees, hoverflies and moths are vital to nature and to us, as they pollinate both wild plants and the food that we eat such as tasty apples, strawberries, potatoes and tomatoes. In living memory there has a huge loss of wildflower-rich grassland across the UK, with over 97 % lost since the 1930s. This partly why we have seen declines in our native insects, with over 75 % of butterflies and 66 % of our moths in trouble. Half of our bumblebee species are threatened, and three species have gone extinct in the last 100 years!

To help pollinators AND people, we will be creating beautiful meadows, planting gorgeous spring bulbs and fruit trees across the Cumnock and Doon Valley. Working with our partners, local communities, schools, land owners and specialist contractors we will create colourful, nature-filled habitats at former opencast coal sites, in community green spaces and along paths and roadsides.

Community meadow in Falkirk (c) Dr Scott Shanks

Working with the community and local schools, spring bulbs and community fruit trees will be planted near meadows. People will be encouraged to plant pollinator-friendly spring bulbs and wildflowers in their own gardens to improve habitat connectivity throughout villages and towns, and to encourage community connection with the project. 

How will we work together during a Coronavirus pandemic? For now, we will not be running any events that involve meeting other people. However, once it safe to do so and with strict measures for social distancing and hygiene in place, we will be looking to work with volunteers, local people, schools and community groups to deliver our projects. There is no need to wait to get in touch, express your interest by calling Daisy on 07766185987 or emailing her at

Volunteers surveying wildlife at Airds Moss in 2016 (c) CEI

Our projects will be delivered as part of the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership, an ambitious £6million project that will take place over 5 years and involve multiple organisations and local people.  The project is led by East Ayrshire Council and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.