North Edinburgh school pupils teamed up with scientists to turn 27km of Edinburgh’s coastline, from the third Forth Bridge in the west to Joppa in the east, into a living laboratory.  The Shoreline pilot project led by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) promoted awareness of coastal climate change and the associated risks in urban coastal areas and demonstrated the principle of naturalisation of sea defences as part of the Edinburgh Living Landscape partnership.



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Leonie Alexander
Urban Biodiverty Project Officer, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

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This joint public engagement project with the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Glasgow University, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA), Artecology and Concrete in the Classroom focused on working with local schools,  teaching them about coastal wildlife and processes. Exploring coastal biodiversity by combining art, ecology, engineering and bio-geomorphology, the children then designed and made structures from concrete and strapping them to the coastal defences along the shoreline.

Two vertipools designed and constructed by Artecology were also installed on the sea defences to demonstrate the principle of marine habitat creation in the intertidal zone. In natural systems the intertidal can be extensive grading from sand dunes through strandline, saltmarsh and mudflats but this system is completely disrupted by vertical sea defences. The artificial rock pools installed on the vertical sea defences create habitat for marine organisms on a structure which would otherwise be very hostile to colonisation.

The project also focused on training early career researchers in the importance of public engagement in the scientific community and ran a workshop jointly with Edinburgh Adapts for researchers, policy makers and practitioners in investigating how the coast may change and how the changes could benefit people and wildlife.

The structures which were installed at Cramond are designed to encourage colonisation by marine seaweeds, barnacles, lichens and other species, and will be monitored by students from the University of Glasgow and RBGE researchers. Local residents are also invited to visit the structures and check out any species that are moving into this new accommodation.

The video below is the second video about the project. Its intended audience is for those who would like to learn about the need for public engagement for the project.

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