If a tree falls on a meadow

This month has been busy with lots of practical work, deadlines and training. I started the month by submitting my Habitat Management Guidance Document for the friends of Westy. this document was aimed at providing members of the local friends’ group westy an outline of the broad conservation objectives for each of the habitats identified in the area. This document was interesting to write and although a lot more research went into its content than I originally intended I am pleased with how much I have learned both in my time working in conservation and in compiling the document. I enjoyed writing the document, which covered a lot of topics I find interesting; I don’t have and authors heart so I was surprised how much I enjoyed writing the document.

I took some time off for my little girls 8th birthday, which was lovely and she enjoyed it so much. Then I returned to work to help with the Little Hulton Project Hanifah has expertly lead on. We delivered a litter picking session where we cleared 16 Bin bags of material for disposal and recycling. I was impressed by the community and how they engaged with this activity.  Some peculiar items were found but, for the most part, it was just a shame to see how a few lazy individuals were damaging a green space and spoiling the area for wildlife and locals

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As well the Little Hulton Project I have been doing a massive marketing push for the Woodland Wellbeing Project and the 6-week courses. These were originally due to start in the middle of January but due to low attendance figures, this start date has been moved to early-February.  We look forward to delivering this event and I am particularly keen on supporting the delivery as this is unlike any event I have had the opportunity to deliver so far.

 

Leaflet drop

And now on to the practical roles…  Sadly we didn’t run a work party on Pestfurlong this month, with a massive shift in activities I didn’t have time to market any volunteering activities. But don’t worry, along with multiples site visits, Jamie and I went to Pestfurlong to undertake some laser levelling. Laser levelling is a useful tool that allows the user to predict the flow of water across a site by measuring the height of the ground across the site in relation to a key reference point. We undertook training for this assessment earlier in the month and were keen to test our new skills.  The results look amazing and we have clearly identified the shape and average profile of the bog.

Laser level Contor Map

As well as this survey work, Steve, Tony and I made a big push towards compleating the work on Whitehead Hall Meadow. With a mild winter, breeding bird season is almost upon us, so our window for habitat restoration is rapidly closing.   This work is my first chance to really get out and use my new chainsaw qualification and I was glad of the opportunity.

The meadow has been severely under managed for a number of years and the scrub encroachment across the meadow has become quite substantial. Wildflower meadows are becoming less and less common in the UK and although they don’t have the global benefits of sinking carbon, well not much, this is an area where we find massive species diversity and is a very valuable habitat. Enrichment of soils and poor management has meant that this habitat is rapid following a path of succession into woodland and rank grasses. This results in the shading out of wildflowers with their seeds now lying dormant in the seed bank.  By clearing the are of trees and stumps we hope to enable yearly tractor hay cuts on the site, which will slow succession and remove rank vegetation, as by doing so promote species diversity.

*After initially flush cutting stumps at ground level we changed tactics and have left tall visible stumps to be removed at a later date by mattock

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