Wednesday 3 June 2015

VC Recorder for Skye on BBC Radio Scotland's flagship arts programme

Mountain Avens
Last month, I told you about Stephen Bungard's involvement in the Patterns of Flora Project which launches this week. Today, Stephen is being interviewed at 2.40 on the Janice Forsyth Show which is BBC Radio Scotland's flagship arts programme. The interview will be available afterwards on iPlayer here

The press release points out that Stephen "probably knows more about the plant life of Raasay, Skye and the Small Isles than anyone alive. The former ICI research manager started taking an interest in flora back in the early 80s when he was involved in a campaign to save a wildlife corridor near his home in Teeside and had discovered Raasay as a holiday destination. 

Frances Priest's ceramics
Image courtesy F. Priest/ATLAS Arts
"His love of the island and of botany developed in tandem. After a while Stephen and his wife bought a holiday home and he embarked on a close study of the environment. Around 2000 he took early retirement and was able to move permanently to Raasay and devote himself more fully to his passion for plants".

Stephen said: “What makes Raasay so special is that you get such a concentration of habitats in a small area.” He and ceramicist Frances Priest have worked together with ATLAS Arts on the Patterns of Flora project, with Stephen choosing the habitats to be featured: bog, coast fresh water, limestone, moor and mountain and woodland. Frances' ceramics feature plants such as Sea Milkwort, Great Sundew and Marsh Cinquefoil.

Heath-spotted Orchid
Frances said: “In the Highlands you often tend to look at the vast sweeps and the grandeur. But with Stephen you get a different perspective. Go for a walk with him and you really don’t get very far before he’s pointing things out that you would have just passed by. You see the environment in an entirely different way, all the beauty of the detail".

Stephen said that he hoped the project would "encourage people to look down and around not just up and about and to see the variety and beauty right under their noses. I hope that it helps make people more aware of what’s there and the complexity of the environment – and that it helps attract some more visitors to the island.” 

He encourages people to visit the island of Raasay to see plants such as Mountain Avens, Dark-red Helleborine and Heath Spotted-orchid.

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