A New Beginning

Today marks the end of the first month of the Carbon Landscape Trainee Placement. Me and Stu have been lucky enough to have had the previous trainees Andy, Helen and Emma with us for a handover period for the first two weeks.  This was a massive help to  establish a list of routine tasks we would have to take over. One such  task is the River Guardian and Riverfly Monitoring of sample sites in Hindley for the Mersey River Trust which is conducted on a monthly basis. A training session of each programme has to be carried out before you can go out in the field and conduct a  River Guardian or Riverfly Monitoring surveys


River Guardian: Shaking the test tube which contains a 5ml sample of the water from the sample site and a phosphate tablet. The solution is shaken until the tablet has dissolved and left for a few minutes to settle before comparing the colour to the chart to determine phosphate levels.
Riverfly Monitoring: Here are me and Stu monitoring the aquatic invertebrates collected from kick sampling the method used to collect the invertebrates from the bottom of the brook. You can see part of the ID guide that we used to identify what specimens we found, one of which was a freshwater shrimp (Gammarus pulex).

I have also spent this month planning upcoming events and helped to support one such event recently, a foraging walk. I have always been interested in wildflowers and naturally foraging has always been something I have wanted to learn more about, and this event really didn’t disappoint. It was led by foraging extraordinaire David Winnard from Discover The Wild (https://www.discoverthewild.co.uk/). The event was held at Woolston Park with the Friends of Woolston Park and was throughly enjoyed by all who attended. I tried Hawthorn (Crataegus mongyna) for the firs time and Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). I also learnt about the problems with relying on scent in foraging. As whereas most  people can agree on the scent of Garlic mustard, a plant like Hawthorn can elicit different responses, a common one is that it smells like death. Also if something smells good it doesn’t always mean that it is edible either and vice versa. I also smelt Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)  which immediately reminded me of Germolene.

Garlic mustard: Can look similar to nettle without the cluster of white flowers at the top.It’s particularly good with a salad.
Meadowsweet: Tends to grow in damp areas along banks or in wet woodlands. It looks and smells beautiful when the flowers are in bloom during the summer.

The Great British Spring Clean this year took place between the 23rd March 2019 –  23rd April 2019. Me and Becky attended a litter pick in Little Hulton, as we are carying out a project in the area over the coming months. One of the aims of the project is  to raise awareness of litter in the area and the detrimental impacts it can have for people and wildlife. We all managed to do a fantastic job in just over an hour. The most common item found were plastic wrappers and bottle tops.

The unadopted area which we were litter picking along.
A fantastic end result in just over an hour by a group of motivated people.

This month has been a month of understanding expectations and workload and getting used to the routine. It has also involved opportunities to start getting more focused and involved with ongoing and upcoming projects.

~ Hanifah

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