We hear seemingly endless bad news about the state of our environment and wild spaces. It is very easy to feel frustrated, and that the actions of just one person cannot make a difference.

What can you do, as one person, to reverse this tide of damage and loss? To improve the health of our ecosystems and reduce our carbon footprint? Where do you even start? Positive change happens one small step at a time.

A quiet revolution is underway: Glasgow’s Flower Power Project, based in Pollok Country Park. Its aim is simple – to grow and distribute, through the effort of volunteers, locally sourced native wild flower species. These will be planted in Glasgow’s parks and green spaces for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Now you might be asking, what difference does this really make? You can easily buy flowers and seeds from garden centres and even supermarkets, which are pollinator and wildlife friendly.

Buying flowers is expensive, especially on the scale in which our wild areas need them. They are delivered from nurseries to shops by trucks driven across the country. Having an established local source of flowers cuts out the transportation process entirely, which reduces our emissions and improves our carbon footprint, and contributes to a massive reduction in cost.

The plants available to purchase are often not local or even native. Wildflowers have evolved specific genes that allow them to tolerate local climate conditions and habitats. In urban areas this is essential, as the conditions are often tougher. Using wildflowers grown elsewhere can lead to the dilution of these wildflower gene pools, which can make our plants less able to cope with these more challenging conditions.

In the UK, many of our wildflower species that are threatened and declining mostly due to habitat loss and degradation. Some of these are very important larval food plants for caterpillars of moths and butterflies. These insects are often the bottom of the food chain for our favourite garden birds and other wildlife.

Take for example, the Common Blue butterfly. Ironically it’s not so common anymore, showing marked declines across the country. Its caterpillars prefer to feed on Common Birdsfoot Trefoil, a lovely bright yellow wildflower, and adults will feed on other wildflowers such as Devil’s bit scabious and Self-heal. These are all being grown by the project in our polytunnel, and by planting out more of these in Glasgow, we can hopefully stabilise and protect our local Common Blue butterfly populations plus a host of other native species.

Through seed collection from wildflowers already present in Glasgow, we can protect particularly rare or threatened species. We have managed to grow seven Burnet saxifrage plants, which are on Glasgow’s Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP). Only a small number are surviving in a few local wild areas. If we can work out a way to nurture and cultivate these plants, we may be able to save them from local extinction.

There are benefits for everyone who gets involved too. We all know that getting out and enjoying time in our green spaces is essential for our health and wellbeing. It’s great to meet new people with similar interests while contributing to a great cause, while getting the chance to learn more about local nature and develop new skills.

This exciting project is only in its early stages, with this spring being its first trial. With each plant successfully grown and moved into our wild spaces, comes another positive change. These build over time, and the benefits to our habitats, wildlife and to us will be exponential. We have successfully grown over 1000 wildflowers of over 25 native wildflower species, which are beginning to be planted across our parks and green spaces. This is only the beginning, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Jennifer Anderson is Glasgow Flower Power’s Volunteer Community Liaison. As a graduate Zoologist from The University of Glasgow, with a keen interest in wildlife conservation and entomology, she volunteers in several local projects and aims to get people more involved in local conservation issues.