Woodland Learning Trip 2019 – Queen Elizabeth Forest Park

We organised an outdoor learning trip  to Queen Elizabeth Forest Park in August, where we learnt more about Scotland landscapes, scenery, wildlife, plants, nature, and the unpredictable weather! This trip has been supported by Forestry Commission for us to learn more about woodlands in Scotland, thank you for giving us this amazing experience.

Our day out was packed with various “adventurous” activities such as forest walks, bird-watching,  foraging, wooden carving, etc.  It was fair to categorise this as an “adventure” for our group, considering many of us have never experienced any form of woodland-based activity.

Ricefield volunteer Debbie McCall has written a blog to share her experience:

Our adventure began at 9am on Sunday 18th August!

Around 17 of the Ricefield team met up at Partick station and from there we all traveled by mini bus – except James and Lin who took the car. Food sorted. Raincoats packed. We were prepared to explore the Scottish wilderness, in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. Lots of misty hills, forests and lochs.

Our first location was the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre, known as the gateway to Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.

We took plenty of pictures of the waterfall, stepping on the boulders and pushing through the foliage.  We then took shelter in a little bird hide and observed the birdies eating and tweeting away. The birds were tiny and adorable, from the Chaffinches, Goldcrests, Blue tits and other small woodland birds. At one point a little mouse was spotted munching on the peanuts. The gift shop was very popular – lots of cute soft toys were purchased and the views from around here were breathtaking.

The rain didn’t dampen our spirits. It is Scotland after all, when does it not rain?

Back to the mini bus! We started our journey to explore 3 lochs forest drive, a 7 mile long Forest Drive that took us past three picturesque lochs.

Our first Loch was Lochan Reòidhte, where two dogs were having a whale of a time, jumping in and out of the water. There were some stunning views at this location especially with the misty clouds so low over the hills. We took plenty of photos…mostly of the dogs.

Our next loch was Loch Drunkie. We were hungry and had our much anticipated lunch and snacks. At this point the heavens opened and the rain was a torrential downpour. But we didn’t mind the soggy sandwiches or the squelching mud. This was a true Scottish summer.

During our stroll we discovered a strange instrument in the middle of the pathway. This was like a wooden arch where you pulled at the ropes and rang bells, making all sorts of musical sounds. Lots of catchy tunes were made.

Also we discovered that it’s not always best to avoid the puddles on the path by jumping onto the grass. The forest though looked very mystical, with the long grass, vibrant green moss, toadstools and tall trees that almost touched the clouds.

The third and final Loch was Loch Achray. The weather cleared up and there was finally a glimmer of sunshine. This Loch was surrounded by beautiful Scottish heather which we took a few stems as souvenirs.

To the mini bus!

Our final destination! No it wasn’t the gift shop… though it was very pretty.

It was in fact the wonderful woodcraft workshop with the Green Aspirations team, which took place in a rustic, handmade wooden hut in woodland at Balfron Station.

Paul had given us an introduction to all the tools and how to use them and their limited supply of star wars plasters which all got used. Paul and his team mate, Ian, went through the steps in creating wooden bowls, spoons or my personal favourite… the wands!

These guys were experts therefore made all the whittling and carving look incredibly easy…. it wasn’t. Though it was highly addictive.

There was water boiling in the iron kettle where, at one point,  wild nettle plants were picked and nettle tea was made, which I’ve been told is very good for you! Marshmallows were also roasted on the small fire.

Wood crafting can be addictive! Everyone was really focused on their crafting and some really didn’t want to leave!

We all had a great time with the Green Aspirations Team, and learnt some new skills!

We’ll definitely be back again!

Click here to view more photos of this trip from our Facebook Album.

Volunteer Blog: Ricefield Arts at Mela Festival 2019

Glasgow Mela is Scotland’s biggest free multicultural festival, bursting with live music, theatre performances, exotic mouth-watering foods from around the globe and fun for all ages. We had a busy day running our arts and crafts stall, delivering kite making workshop, and supporting kite flying activity at the festival. Some of our volunteers wore traditional “HanFu” to demonstrate Ancient Chinese clothing from Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD)

Here, our volunteer Aswad  Choudhry shares his experience of the day.

It was a great opportunity to be able to help out with a wonderful organisation that I’ve been a part of since 2017 and I thought it would be a great idea to help them out with their many activities planned this year in the annual Glasgow Mela on Sunday 23rd June 2019.

The day started at 11:30 in the morning where we were all served delicious pizza before a long day of hard work ahead of us. There were various activities that was offered to the members of the general public such as kite making for the young ones (and adults too) where they can take their completed creations and fly it at the Picnic Hill area in the Kelvingrove Park.

 

There was also a merchandise store on offer from Ricefield Arts where we sold different types of Chinese arts and crafts items which I found really cool and the people passing by were also fascinated by what was on offer.

I had the chance to take photographs of the activities that were taking place along with being able to also help out in the kite making stall and finally flying a kite in Kelvingrove Park which I’ve never done before. I really enjoyed the kite making stall and seeing the members of the public also having a wonderful time in making the kites in different shapes and sizes.

Overall it was a wonderful experience of once again volunteering with Ricefield Arts and would definitely recommend new members to volunteer and help out as you wouldn’t be disappointed and I’m looking forward to the next event.

Volunteer Celebration – Spring 2019

We were delighted to host our annual Volunteer Celebration on Friday 5 April. The evening celebrated the hard work, dedication and contributions of our lovely volunteer team who gave their time & energy to support our Christmas & Chinese New Year activities, as well as marketing and our growing Chinese Community Library. Ricefield’s year-round programme of events would not be possible without them!

We shared a tasty meal in The Cafe Hub, before a round of human bingo and paper tower building.

It was then time for the evening’s main event, our certification presentation and Outstanding Volunteer awards. Check out the award winners below!

Volunteer Blog: Chinese New Year at Kelvin Hall 2019

Ricefield Arts hosted our annual Chinese New Year celebrations on Sunday 17 February, this time visiting both Kelvin Hall and the Riverside Museum. We were delighted by the crowds at both venues, and the opportunity to spread awareness of Chinese culture and traditions through crafts, games and sports.

This busy programme of activity wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our hard-working volunteer team. Here, new volunteer Becca McCall shares her experience of the day, along with some great photos by Debbie.

Gong Hei Fat Choy – Happy Chinese New Year, it’s the year of the pig.

I had the wonderful experience of helping Ricefield Arts with their Chinese New Year Family Day at the Kelvin Hall on Sunday 17 February. This was my first time volunteering at one of their events and it won’t be the last. The aim of the event was to teach visitors about, and allow them to participate in, a range of popular activities and games. In order to do this effectively over 35 volunteers were recruited to help throughout the event. We all gathered in the Activity Room at 10am and were assigned to our groups, and I got the opportunity to help with the colouring competition stall with some amazing people.

The activities chosen were suitable for the whole family and proved popular with the volunteers and the visitors. As members of the general public entered the reception area of the Kelvin Hall they were encouraged to write a wish on a piece of card which was then hung from a ‘wishing tree’ set up next to our Information Desk. This is a popular New Year tradition. We hope all the wishes come true, even the one with the unicorn.

There was the shuttlecock game, which is known as jianzi and has been a popular sport in China for over 1000 years; the aim of the game is for players to keep the shuttlecock off the ground for as long as they can. All ages were more than happy to take part. We played this while setting up before the event, despite its difficulty it was very addictive to play, especially with the volunteers. We all had so much fun playing this game – I’ll definitely be investing in one of these shuttlecocks!

There were plenty of other activities for everyone; there was calligraphy demonstrations, which of course proved to be such a popular stall with plenty of people crowding around the table wanting temporary tattoos of animals and their names in Chinese. I got a purple cat with my name next to it. There was the Chopstick Challenge, Cat’s Cradle, Catch the Seven Pieces, a photo corner with lots of detailed costumes and fun props for adults and children to play with, a green corner hosted by Ricefield’s When Red, Go Green project to encourage visitors to upcycle, Chinese Zodiac, a colouring competition, stamp making and some table tennis at the back.

This was the busiest this event has ever been so far – over 900 people attended this year, a lot more than last time, which was 600. Perhaps next year it will reach over 1000! Throughout this event I got to meet extraordinary people with lots of skills and talents, some have been volunteering with Ricefield for a while and others were newcomers like me.  There was a lot of positivity surrounding the event, and I, among many other volunteers, new and old, are looking forward to the next. See you soon.

Thanks Becca! Check out more photos on our Facebook page.

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