Get to know...John MacLennan
A blog post by John MacLennan
- Collaboration is key to becoming a climate literate nation
- More work to be done for a litter free Scotland
- A decade and a half of environmental legislation
- It's never too early to learn about the climate emergency
- Our strategy to inspire action for our environment
- FARE Lochend - Where good news is standard
- Glashieburn's LEAF journey
- An Interview with Travel Influencer Chris Lawlor
- Climate action with hope and optimism
- The Big River Irvine Riverbank Clean
- Eating nettles and gazing at clouds: a LEAF reflection
- #TakeItBack to the start
- Dalry Primary School's LEAF journey
- Pedalling towards a sustainable future
- Chirnside Primary School's LEAF journey
- Flowerbank Early Childhood Centre's Pocket Garden Experience
- To keep Scotland beautiful we all need to take action
- Applegarth and Hutton’s LEAF journey
- Our hope for a nature positive Scotland
- Becoming a Platinum Carbon Literate Organisation
- Volunteering with KSB and loving every minute
- We are all accountable for our actions
- Hillhead students talk keeping Kelvingrove Park beautiful
- Making it easy to choose a reusable cup for takeaway drinks
- Get to know...Sandy Scott
- How Eco-Schools benefits pupils, teachers and communities
- Community gardening for climate, nature and heritage in Cumbernauld
- Tackling the litter emergency to protect our wild isles
- Scotland isn't looking so beautiful. We can change that.
- Get to know... Green Flag Award Judges
- Collaboration and innovation to tackle marine litter
- An introduction to Kinnesswood in Bloom...
- The litter emergency
- Our charity faces the environmental challenges ahead with optimism
- Wrapping up 2022
- Biodiversity - Reflections on COP15
- Small steps to protect biodiversity
- Why Mountains Matter
- It’s not just bees and butterflies on your flowers
- Wet Wipes - What's the Issue?
- Young Reporters on the Route: The Launch of Running Out of Time
- Getting to know... Tom Brock OBE
- Getting to know...Kyle Usher
- A busy day for Upstream Battle education
- Planning a Wedding with the Planet in Mind
- 'Disposable' vapes and the damage they cause
- Climate Emergency Training provides positive opportunities for young people
- Making climate action possible for everyone
- Reasons to be positive
- Shotts is ACTing NOW on climate change
- Hope is a Garden
- Do we need the word 'pests' anymore?
- Beautiful Scotland judging - the truth
- Supporting Scotland to be the very greenest destination it can be
- Arbroath - working together, inspiring local climate action and improving lives
- Reflections of a beach manager
- I do like to be beside the seaside
- Climate Action Schools - helping young people take action
- Inspiring and empowering young people
- Climate Ready Classrooms at George Heriot's
- Data drives decisions
- Litter, fines and doing time
- Why our Web Developer Cameron loves being part of Team KSB
- It's only one
- Why join the family of It’s Your Neighbourhood?
- YoungScot Legacy Event
- Why it is the sea and SDG 14 for me
- Litter picking - a surprisingly fun group activity
- Climate Action Skills and positive action for all
- Seeing community groups thrive with Beautiful Scotland and It's Your Neighbourhood
- (What to do on) a dreich morning on the Firth of Clyde
- West Lothian Litter Pickers – How I got involved
- Scotland’s Climate Festival – Seed funding for community action
- Climate Ready Classrooms at St. Paul’s RC High School
- Scottish Book Trust representative joins Pocket Garden judging panel
- Have #YourSayOnLitter - we plan to...
- Everyone has something to say about litter – time to make it count
- Who ya gonna call?
- Why I pick up other people's garbage.
- Getting to Know...Colin
- Creative Careers: Spotlight on Heritage #NoWrongPath
- Celebrating Scotland’s best managed green and blue spaces
- Taking small steps towards a more sustainable future
- Caring for our planet
- Football’s Power to Combat Climate Change
- Our work on the COP26 Youth Climate Programme
- What’s litter got to do with climate change?
- Scotland’s Climate Festival kicks off in Falkirk
- Responsible Tourism – an opportunity not to be missed
- Climate Change Vlog by Dalry Primary School
- Failing our future?
- Our Week of Climate Action
- #ScotClimateWeek - our impacts and actions
- Protecting the sand and sea
- Another fine mess – part one
- Designing a lower carbon Scotland
- Getting to know... Lisa Snedden
- Combating climate change with information, education and training
- Litter picking 500 miles was always Gonna Be easy
- 7K for 7 Flags Challenge
- Littering less at St Joseph's Primary School in Glasgow
- Smashing litter picking targets during an unexpected stay in Scotland
- Keeping our communities beautiful
- Celebrating our brilliant volunteers
- Designing a pocket garden
- Getting to know... Nicola Smith
- East Haven Together
- It’s time to litter-ly turn anger into action
- Working in partnership to give communities a helping hand to clean up Scotland
- Why Beautiful Scotland is important to Lauder in Bloom
- We can all be climate ready
- Climate Ready Classrooms at Speyside High School
- Taking part in It's Your Neighbourhood
- Bags of opportunity for good
- Getting to know... Eve Keepax
- Lucky to live here
- A year of opportunity ahead
With a past career in horticulture including involvement at Suntrap, NTS Gardening Advice Centre and Oatridge Agricultural College's first horticultural lecturer, as well as numerous years as a technical representative in the commercial seed trade working with growers and local authorities advising on crop production, John MacLennan is now retired and has been volunteering as a Beautiful Scotland judge, It's Your Neighbourhood assessor, and a Green Flag Award judge, for almost 10 years.
In this excellent Q&A he provides an insight into why he loves volunteering with #TeamKSB.
What is your motivation for getting involved as a Beautiful Scotland / It’s Your Neighbourhood judge or assessor?
Being retired but wanting to remain active in community gardening, plus the benefit of meeting like minded folk with whom there is an open sharing of ideas.
What experience do you have that makes you a good judge / assessor?
That is a hard one to answer! Perhaps it is far more than just community gardening as, like many, my first input was via a local gardening club while I was still in primary school. When I was 14 I started gardening in the grounds of a residential care home and the support I received from my mentor at the garden introduced me to the concept of reuse (he fitted his kitchen from second hand items acquired at the local dump!). Several of my customers supplied plants to Bloom groups which meant I met up with the Bloom coordinators. Within Scotland those involved in gardening and horticulture often know each other or have contacts. But each judge or assessor is unique and I hopefully have, or had been, a good 'un.
What is your favourite thing about judging / assessing?
Being able to share ideas but more importantly listen to how the group has engaged in their local communities. And as part of my green prescribing being able to have day trips throughout Scotland which act as my summer holidays.
What is some of the best practice you have seen on visits?
Engaging with primary schools and becoming a safe haven for pupils after school. Taking over a redundant bowling club and using structured funding applications make a community garden with raised beds producing edibles for the wider community. Developing community gardening initiatives which are fully inclusive. Developing trails related to local fauna and flora and listing the information widely on social media. Hearing of numerous after-school and holiday clubs in which there are no barriers to being involved.
What are the common improvements you highlight?
Nothing is ever impossible. Take larger steps as it is easier to make them smaller once you start! There is no ‘them' and 'us’ when engaging with local councils - it is an equal partnership in which sharing and caring must be the goal and, related to that with cash strapped councils, being the catalyst for funding. Council employees need to realise the potential of community participation and be willing to engage, and perhaps even use skills within community groups to develop joint projects.
What are the benefits of Beautiful Scotland / It’s Your Neighborhood for potential applicants?
Networking with other groups with one proven example being a West Dunbartonshire group exchanging ideas with one in West Lothian. Building up positive relationships with the local council parks team, although this can also be museums and galleries, social work, education and cleansing.
Visit It's Your Neighbourhood | Keep Scotland Beautiful to learn more about our community initiative.