Saturday, 18 January 2014

Screamer the Swift

The children's book 'Screamer the Swift' which came out in November 2013 is about a Swift born in Bath and its migration to Africa. Who would have thought in only a few months the book is 'flying off to Africa'! Yes due to 4 schools in Tayside in Scotland being 'twinned' with schools in South Africa, Uganda and 2 in Malawi the book is being sent to the schools thanks to the generosity of Ibstock Bricks who sponsored the book. Ibstock Bricks make 90 million bricks a year for houses and industrial buildings but also make a 'Swift Brick'. The population of Swifts are falling fast in Britain due to lack of nest sites on buildings. This brick can give the Swift a home and should be placed on every new building in Britain.
'Daniele Muir, Project Officer for the Carse of Gowrie Swift Conservation Project added 'Screamer the Swift is a wonderful book that illustrates the hazards swifts face throughout their lives. We are very grateful to Ibstock for providing the sponsorship to enable us to send the book to each of our Swift Twinning schools in South Africa, Malawi and Uganda, as well as the schools in the Carse of Gowrie'. 

The Junior Carsonians [WRITTEN BY Lewis McGoldrick & Oscar Shrimpton Jr Carsonians Abernyte Sch] are a group of children from schools in the Carse of Gowrie. They mainly do things which make the Carse of Gowrie a better place and help the environment. Lately they have been looking at swifts and how we can help them. A swift specialist, Daniele Muir, came to one of the meetings which the Junior Carsonians held. She told them lots about swifts, for example they only land to breed and they sleep whilst flying. Daniele also told them how we can help swifts and that they are an endangered species. Throughout the Carse of Gowrie lots of walks have been held where you walk around the villages and look for potential swift nesting sites. Lots of schools in the Carse of Gowrie have been given swift nesting boxes - for instance Abernyte Primary School has been given a triple swift nesting box. The Junior Carsonians started working on a movie about swifts as part of a national competition. The short 3 minute film showcased the Junior Carsonians’ work on Swift conservation. Now the Junior Carsonians are going to continue working on wildlife conservation around the Carse of Gowrie.

Swift numbers have dropped by over 60% in Scotland over the past fifteen years and the Carse of Gowrie Swift Conservation Project has helped schools, businesses, community and church groups to conserve existing swift nest sites and provided new nesting locations, to help Carse swift populations expand. The project is being run in partnership between the Carse of Gowrie Sustainability Group & the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership'. 

John Miles, author of Screamer said 'Is it not amazing that children around the world can get involved with this Swift but the British government will not encourage these bricks to be placed on new buildings! If a children's book can be enjoyed by so many why can the actual Swift disappear from our skies just because a government can't be bothered!!'