Study base

The Living Field has facilities from which  visitors can study the biology and environment of Scottish croplands.

Two large cabins were sited next to the garden in 2007. They are linked by a raised platform which is accessible by access-ramps

The cabins are equipped with computers, microscopes and interactive whiteboards. Follow the links below to see some of the activities on open days and visits.

Study groups with interests in ecology, agriculture and the environment are welcome to use the cabins, by arrangement. Except on open days, visits are normally restricted to small groups. Supervisors should contact Gladys Wright for further information.

The two cabins are located next to the Living Field garden (entrance board to the left in the photograph below). Two cotton thistles Onopordum acanthium - seen as the tall grey-green plants below - were transplanted to the recess between the two cabins for the opening year of 2007. They were the progeny of a single, magnificant plant that appeared in the Living Field garden very soon after it was built in 2004. This species had not been seen before at the Institute and presumably grew from a seed that found its way into the garden. 

The Living Field team acknowledge the funding from the Biodiversity Action Grants Scheme that allowed the Living Field to buy and instal the cabins.  In addition, many people at the Institute gave their time and skill to provide safe and attractive surroundings and to equip the cabins to a high standard. 

Open days and visitors

Each year, the Living Field puts on a range of displays and hands-on exhibits for schools and the public. Sometimes these coincide with the Institute's Open Day's or LEAF Open Farm Sunday.  The exhibits usually include the highly popular pitfall trapping of insects and spiders, activities on computers and interactive whiteboards and for the younger visitors some form of 'seek and find' game in the adjoining Living Field garden.

Institute staff are on hand to help with the activities, answer questions, identify  things and also get involved in discussion on topics in environment and sustainability.  

Scenes from an Open Day (above) - top left, playing the Living Field interactive CD; top right, looking at bugs; middle, visitors in and around the garden; bottom right, artist in residence Ronnie Forbes demonstrating the promethean board; bottom right, visitors on the raised platform joining the three cabins. Note the two great cotton thistles Onopordum acanthium - the story of their arrival at the Living Field is told above.

 

 

Above - looking for pitfall traps in a cereal field; tractor ride; finding pitfalls; in the meadow; looking at mini-beasts; what's next guys!

 

Constructing the cabins and platform

The site was prepared, services installed - sewerage, power and water - then early in 2007 the various portacabins appeared on the back of a lorry, were lifted into place by a big crane and positioned exactly according to the ground plan by the men from the Institute's 'estates and maintenance'.  It was a dour day, weather-wise, but all the fund-raising and planning was rewarded by the satisfaction of seeing the buildings slot in place.  Fantastic!

Scenes from the installation of the cabins, 2007.

 

Funding and support

The Living Field team gratefully acknowledge the following organisations who have contributed to the establishment of the facilities.

Biodiversity Action Grants Scheme (part of Scottish Government)  www.scotland.gov.uk

The five key objectives of the grant scheme "Strategy for the Conservation and Enhancement of Biodiversity in Scotland" are:

  • Species and Habitats: To halt the loss of biodiversity and continue to reverse previous losses through targeted action for species and habitats
  • People: To increase awareness, understanding and enjoyment of biodiversity, and engage many more people in conservation enhancement
  • Landscapes and Ecosystems: To restore and enhance biodiversity in all our urban, rural and marine environments through better planning, design and practice
  • Integration and Co-ordination: To develop an effective management framework that ensures biodiversity is taken into account in all decision making
  • Knowledge: To ensure that the best new and existing knowledge on biodiversity is available to all policy makers and practitioners 

Find out more information on Biodiversity Action Plans.

MacRobert Trust
The MacRobert Trust has supported the development of this website
www.themacroberttrust.org.uk

Mylnefield Trust
The Mylnefield Trust contributed to the CD, garden and study centre
www.mrsltd.com 

Members of the following organisations gave their time and expertise to ensure the centre was established

Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group
www.fwag.org.uk

Field Studies Council
www.field-studies-council.org

Perth and Kinross Countryside Rangers
www.pkc.gov.uk 

Perth and Kinross Records Centre 
www.pkc.gov.uk

Scottish Natural Heritage
www.snh.org.uk

Tayside Biodiversity Partnership
www.taysidebiodiversity.co.uk