A great year for Ecology Centre

Volunteers and staff from the Ecology Centre

Volunteers and staff from the Ecology Centre

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The last year has been a “great” one for Kinghorn Ecology Centre which saw a huge rise in visitors and volunteers.

Centre chairman Tony Payne summed up progress at the organisation’s AGM last week by describing it as “a great year with much achieved,” when he updated members on the many successes of the past year as well as plans for the next 12 months.

The Ecology Centre, based at Kinghorn Loch, provides a wide variety of volunteering opportunities as well as environmental education for schools in Fife and further afield, and the AGM showcased a number of exciting projects such as Eco Explorers – a People’s Postcode Lottery funded project that is bringing environmental education to 43 schools and over 4000 participants.

Claire Reid, education manager, described the work, saying: “We visit schools with our inspiring tent and provide a fun, exciting and informative learning experience that delivers curriculum outcomes.”

The Eco Explorers team presented an entertaining climate change puppet show demonstrating the discomfort of the planet, and Duncan Hogg, a volunteer, shared his experience with the meeting, saying: “The type of practical training that I have received at the Ecology Centre improves my employment opportunities immensely.”

Mr Payne expressed his pleasure at the growth in volunteering, with the centre doubling its volunteer hours over the past year to over 8000. “All credit to our hard working staff and enthusiastic volunteers,” he said.

The meeting also heard of plans to move into new premises in 2014, and Alison Crook, development manager, outlined her work to find a new home as the current lease runs out next year. She explained: “We are keen to ensure that all our activities can continue and all the people who take part in our work can be part of the transition.”

Mr Payne shared some of the many highlights including progress with the Tool Shed project where volunteers renovate tools which are sent to Africa to help small businesses; the recruitment of two young people through Community Jobs Scotland and winning People’s Postcode Lottery funding.

He concluded: “We welcome everyone here at the Ecology Centre – all ages and abilities take part in our activities. There is a great sense of community, and anyone who would like to volunteer should get in touch.”