IT WAS a real privilege to give a talk recently to the Clackmannanshire Field Studies Society at Greenfield Hall in Alloa.

The presentation was on my book 'A Scottish Wildlife Odyssey', which is a travel journey through Scotland in search of our country's wild secrets.

At the end of the talk, an audience member asked if I was optimistic about the future of our wildlife, given all the challenges faced, including global warming.

My answer was an unequivocal yes – one reason being that so many people nowadays are interested in the environment and the sheer force of 'people power' will help ensure the protection and enhancement of nature.

There is no better illustration of such commitment to both our natural and human history than the Clackmannanshire Field Studies Society (CFSS), and I was impressed by the number of people who turned up for my lecture and the enthusiasm they displayed for the environment.

CFSS was founded in 1970 after attempting to revive the Alloa Society of Natural Science and Archaeology, which was established in 1863.

The aim of CFSS is to promote interest in the environment and heritage of the local area.

In winter, from September to April, there are regular lectures dealing with various topics and a Members' Night. The season concludes with their AGM.

In summer, walks and outings may be organised. The society also undertakes research projects to enhance our knowledge of the nature and history of Clackmannanshire. Additionally, members' benefit from regular newsletters.

The CFSS is a wonderful forum to meet people and become involved in enjoying our environment and heritage.

It was great to talk with some of the members after my lecture, and they were a most friendly and welcoming group.

It is organisations such as this that can make a real difference to local communities, and the events they organise are thought-provoking and enjoyable.

I really recommend anyone interested in Clackmannanshire nature or heritage to consider joining CFSS. More information on CFSS and how to become a member at