Climate campaigner making difference with environmental work in Glasgow's Linn Park
CLIMATE campaigner Michael Sinclair is a young and inspiring voice.
The 15-year-old was the brains behind a walkout at Williamwood High School amid the September 20 youth climate strike, during which 30 activists ceremoniously strode from the school gates to join 200 fellow pupils on a march later that day in Glasgow.
But it’s closer to home where the passionate youngster, from Clarkston, East Renfrewshire, makes the biggest impact, giving up countless hours to maintain the interior and surroundings of Linn Park, Glasgow, as well as raising hundreds for charity by building and selling bird boxes.
“I would describe myself as a young naturalist, climate activist and wildlife photographer” Michael said.
“I climate strike mainly in Glasgow, but I’ve also taken part in a major climate protest in Edinburgh.
“At my school, I’ve set up an environmental group and we have about 10 regular attendees.
“We’re working on environmental improvements around the school, including a wildflower area and areas to grow our own food and produce.”
Along with the work that Michael does at his school, he has a special affinity with his Linn Park – one of Glasgow’s largest and most picturesque.
“I volunteer at Linn Park with a community group called Friends of Linn Park, and we do loads of stuff – tree planting, wildflower planting, butterfly counts and bat surveys are just some that come to mind” said Michael.
One of his most profitable passions is his bird boxes, which have so far raised more than £1,500.
“I build bird and bat boxes that I then de-assemble to let school children and others in the community build back up.
“We make them from totally sustainable materials, and they’re sponsored by the park so we put them in there.
“It’s self-sustainable because the profits from sponsorship pay for more materials to make more boxes, like a cycle”.
It may be a different way for a teenage male to spend his time, but Michael doesn’t let one minute go to waste – his work in the park goes above and beyond for natural science.
“There’s a team of nest recorders who monitor the bird boxes, so we can keep an eye on the progess of the boxes and we send the information to the British Trust for Ornithology for their records.
“I also record loads of wildlife and send the information to relevant recorders, to help build up a scientific database.
“We use bat detectors to run bat walks in conjunction with volunteer groups and we show people how epic bats are, along with recording the species we see.
“Moth trapping is also done to catch them alive to be released without any harm.”
Michael’s good work hasn’t gone unnoticed, as he is currently the youth ambassador for Scotland at the Big Picture and the Cameron Bespolka Trust. One day, he says he hopes to work in nature conservation.
His work joins the ranks of other inspiring young activists in the Glasgow area who are making massive changes in the city – it was a fellow south-sider, Erin Curtis, who organised the youth climate strike, and Friday’s Evening Times showcased Extinction Rebellion Youth’s Die In, which was arranged by 16-year-old Aislinn Hastings.
“People need to make sure they keep protesting and taking direct action to keep our voices heard,” said Michael.
“We all need to do our bit at home to help the environment. Going vegan is one positive step, but also doing environmental volunteering for organisations – tree planting, wildflower planting and recording wildlife species is great. This is important so we can understand the changes taking place in our environment over time”.