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Ecofusion encourages communities to come together to enjoy the environment

posted 7 Apr 2010, 06:43 by myEdinburgh Admin
Holyrood Park, Edinburgh’s biggest and most popular green space, is gearing up for a unique multi-cultural celebration of the environment and enjoying the outdoors - Ecofusion - on Sunday 11 April.

The family-friendly, free event – the first of its kind – aims to encourage people of all ages and from all backgrounds to make the most of the natural environment around them and the opportunities this presents for exploring and enjoying Scotland’s outdoor spaces and cultural heritage.

Ecofusion, from 11am to 4pm, will take place inside and around four colourful Indian marquees adjacent to the Holyrood Park Education Centre.

Out in the park, visitors will be able to try their hand at a variety of outdoor activities including scaling a climbing tower, having a go at a cycling obstacle course, and meeting the world’s fastest bird of prey, the peregrine falcon. They’ll also be invited to explore the park’s archaeology and take a walk through time to meet Iron Age Holyrood characters who’ll teach them about the challenges of life some 5,000 years ago.

In the Education Centre, there will be a host of interesting activities, such as an opportunity for visitors to learn some ancient natural crafts – including willow weaving, bow drilling and pot making. They can also find out about the wildlife which flourishes within Holyrood Park and have a go at recording some of the many species which are to be found in it. Special activities children can take part in and enjoy include creating seed bombs and planting their own wildflower seeds in pots.

Within the marquees, environmental, cultural heritage and multi-cultural organisations will be offering the chance to take part in a wide range of nature-related craft activities from around the world, such as Nepalese plate making, Chinese knotting, Japanese origami and henna painting. A multi-cultural fusion of entertainment will also be offered in the marquees, with music by Sambasene and Diwan, dancing by the Nepalese Scotland Association and story telling and puppet shows. And the acclaimed Mosque Kitchen will be tempting visitors with some delicious dishes from India and Pakistan.

Hosted by Historic Scotland, which manages and cares for Holyrood Park, and with funding from the Scottish Government, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland, Ecofusion is being coordinated by the Forum for Environmental Volunteering Activity (FEVA) and the environmental volunteering charity, BTCV Scotland.

Supporting and participating in the event is a wide range of environmental sector, and community-based multi-cultural organisations which, for the past year, have been working together in a partnership project called ‘Working with Difference’ (WWD) to generate public interest, particularly amongst minority groups, in the outdoors.

Representing FEVA and BTCV Scotland, Julia Duncan says: “Ecofusion is all about encouraging more people - particularly from minority groups - to access the outdoors and to engage with their environment and enjoy nature. This event celebrates the work of the WWD partnership to date and is designed to entice many more people to find out about the huge range of opportunities there are to explore Scotland's outdoor spaces.

“We’ve a fantastic range of fun activities planned for all the family so we hope as many people as possible will come to Holyrood Park on Sunday 11th April to join in our celebration of the outdoors and try out lots of new ways of enjoying the environment.”

Pete Rawcliffe, Scottish Natural Heritage Head of Quality of Life said: "Ecofusion is an exciting introduction to all kinds of inspiring activities and opportunities to encourage people to access the outdoors on their own doorstep. It is an event that clearly demonstrates that Scotland's outdoors can be enjoyed by people in Scotland of all ages and from all backgrounds, in urban as well as rural green spaces. SNH is pleased to be supporting the event and will be on hand to offer help and advice for people attending on how to make a positive difference to their health and welfare by embracing a regular outdoor activity habit."

Romena Huq, Engagement Officer with Forestry Commission Scotland in the Central Belt added: "The Commission is very active in supporting work to encourage diverse communities to connect with and get the many benefits that woodlands and the environment offer.

“During the event we will be putting our commitment to this on a higher level by launching a new strategy which will focus on engaging with BME communities and hard-to-reach groups. Many of the groups that have been involved with WWD and Ecofusion will be working with us to develop activities within forests and woodlands themed around health, faith and heritage."

Historic Scotland Royal Parks Visitor Services Manager Martin Gray concludes: “We’re delighted to be hosting Ecofusion and welcoming the many participating organisations to Holyrood Park. One of our key priorities is raising public awareness of everything this wonderful green space offers and generating an appreciation of the cultural heritage and natural environment – not only here in the park but elsewhere in Scotland. There is so much to see and do outdoors at any time of year and this event highlights how we can all make the most of that and enjoy the free entertainment nature offers us.”

For more information on Ecofusion, visit www.feva-scotland.org/ecofusion
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