The Rangers Blog – March 2020
Hello and welcome to this month’s addition of the Ranger Blog. As the G2N team continues to battle the high winds and continuous rainfall we have been working hard to carry out regular site maintenance and ensure that we are able to achieve our winter work, such as pruning hedges, clearing marshes and felling trees before we reach the spring.
Both storms Ciara & Dennis have affected our sites, much like the rest of the U.K., and we have been regularly visiting them to ensure that the pathways are clear and surveying the condition of the trees to ensure they are not showing signs of failure. Trees have fallen at Bonchurch Landslip, Pan Mill Meadows and Pig Leg Lane and it has been our priority to get to the sites as quickly as possible and clear the trees away and assure that they are safe. All of the material from the fallen trees has been neatly piled and stashed on site, creating habitat piles for animals to use for shelter, sources of food, nesting etc. One of the main reasons we carry out regular site checks is to ensure that the trees are in good health and are not showing signs of decline and possible failure. Any trees showing signs of ill health which are close to paths are potentially hazardous as there may be a possibility that the tree could fall onto the path. We monitor the trees and will take action if we feel they are a risk. We will also carry out dead wooding of trees to reduce the likelihood of dead limbs falling onto pathways in the event of high winds.
At Golden Hill Country Park the last 10 fruit trees were planted in the orchard earlier in the month. For the final session, myself and Nick had a fantastic planting session with All Saints C of E primary School as teachers and students were able to join us and assist with the final stages of planting. After being shown the practical demonstration for how to plant the trees the students arranged themselves into small groups and all took part in planting and providing after care for each of the 10 fruit trees. The session was both fun and educational and all of the students did a fantastic job with the trees being planted to a very good standard. On behalf of Gift to Nature we would like to say a big thank you to All Saints Primary School and all of the volunteers who have helped us to create and plant the new orchard. It has been a fantastic project to be a part of and it has really improved the entrance to the site as well as creating an alternative orchard habitat at the park.
We returned to Afton Marsh and continued with our wetland management with the assistance of Green Gym. We had a great turn out for the session with 20 volunteers showing up to endure the wind and rain and work through the water logged conditions to assist us cutting back invasive willow and alder, stacking it neatly on site and helping to control the fire whilst we burned the cut brash. The majority of the volunteers were able to stay relatively dry and avoid the well disguised bogs, however Nick was unfortunately not so lucky, being forced off balance into the marsh, much to the amusement of the other volunteers. Thankfully he was uninjured but did have to endure a wet foot for the remainder of the day. It was a valuable session as we were able to cover large areas of the marsh whilst being able to dispose of large piles of brash from around the site. We would not be able to carry out our work to the same effective level if it wasn’t for the hard work and dedication of volunteers such as the Green Gym and we would like to thank everyone involved.
With spring approaching you can now begin to see wildflowers emerging such as primrose, daffodils and lesser celandines on many of our sites. Please get in touch by sending pictures and telling us about what you find on our sites as we are always fascinated to know.
That’s all for this month folks. I hope you have enjoyed it and we will look forward to updating you in the next addition. Thanks for all of your support.