The Crieff High School group have been out again carrying carrying out practical management of the heathland by removing scrub and saplings from it.
During the session we talked about why Heathland is an important habitat within Scotland in terms of carbon storage and supporting a wide range of species, to find out more information please follow the link: http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-1432.
The group were using tree poppers to remove scrub from the heathland. The tree poppers remove the tree or shrub by the roots meaning it is significantly less likely to regenerate and removes the need to return to areas and continually cut.
The other benefit of this method is it disrupts the soil and allows new communities of plants to be introduced.
The group talked about the activities they enjoyed from last year and what they didn’t enjoy and this will be incorporated in to John Muir Award.
Have you put your Christmas tree up yet? Trees make a huge contribution to our environment, our health and our economy as well as a centrepiece of Christmas. Forestry Commission Scotland has created a short video entitled ‘There’s more to Scotland’s forests than meets the eye’ that is well worth a watch. So sit back, relax and enjoy this video with a mince pie.
If, over the festive period you would like a break from Christmas T.V, Scotland’s Native Woodlands is an excellent short film presented by naturalist Nick Baker.
And these are informative too:
Native pinewoods – http://youtu.be/I6AaNp-5VN0
Upland birchwoods – http://youtu.be/jGzkh6X9ENk
Upland oakwoods – http://youtu.be/WV2LjVxObzM
Lowland mixed deciduous woodland – http://youtu.be/zNauIovTjCw
On 22nd November we went out to meet the Portmoak Path Group, bringing along our “flail” – essentially a large grass cutter capable of cutting long and thick undergrowth. We were cutting the vegetation and grass along a 600m length of core path between Kinnesswood and Portmoak Moss, before it gets too overgrown. Despite a bit of rain, the flail made short work of the cutting while some volunteers used machetes to remove some bracken on the path edge.
Andrew from the group tackling the path edge
Reminding ourselves which button does what…
The freshly cut path – ready to be walked!
Calum taking the flail for a spin
The Portmoak Paths Group meets almost every week to maintain a variety of paths in the Kinnesswood/Baldegie area. If you would like to be involved, or to be put in contact with the group please contact Ranger Calum at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is coppicing you ask? Coppicing is a woodland management technique that involves repeatedly felling trees at the base ,then allowing them to regrow, then providing suitable timber. This technique reigns supreme over replanting as the trees roots have already developed so this means the branches growth would be much quicker and less chance of browsing and shading.
But what can coppicing do for the environment? As trees already shed their branches to extend their lifespan this good be a great way to simulate this to the life of the tree. It also increases woodland biodiversity as more light will be able to reach the ground allowing other species to grow. These species will usually be food for butterflies and other insects which means that they can be eaten by birds and bats etc. It can actually provide habitat as well, is there anything it can’t do…
Its that time of the year again with Christmas just around the corner decorations should be appearing around the street. Another thing that will be appearing in living room windows will be the all important Christmas tree, covered top to bottom in lights, baubles and tinsel.
Its almost strange to think that the idea of a Christmas tree was actually around before the advents of Christianity, as the ancient Egyptians used to celebrate the winter solstice by bringing green palm rushes into their homes which symbolizes the triumph of life over death. Skip forward to the 16th century in Germany when the first use of the Christmas tree occurs. It happened when devout Christians took decorated trees into their homes.
If you have decided to have a real tree with roots this year and want it to last through the holidays then here’s how to look after the tree. First of all you should water your tree regularly and you can also cover the top soil with mulch or reindeer moss to prevent water evaporating and you could also empty trays of ice cubes onto the soil to prevent the water pooling. Only limit your tree’s time inside to ten day stretches as trees are at their happiest at cool temperatures and bright outdoor light. Leave the tree in the container you bought it in to avoid disturbing the roots as you do not want to combine transplanting shock with taking the tree indoors. A tip if you do not like the container your tree came in then you can drop it into a larger glazed ceramic pot or metal bucket which can also catch excess water.
Community Greenspace continues to work with local groups to help maintain and improve local sites, parks and footpath networks.
Over the past few months we have been working with Wisecraft to offer participants opportunities to gain confidence and learn new skills while working with the local Greenspace Ranger. Wisecraft is a Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub, based in Blairgowrie. For over 11 years, Wisecraft has provided a safe environment for adults recovering from mental illness to rebuild their lives.
Recently the group were invited by local residents to help tidy up the historic graveyard which surrounds Hill Church in Blairgowrie. Over two sessions volunteers helped to cutback and load up branches, rake grass and carefully remove moss to expose covered headstones. This is something different for our keen volunteers who enjoyed working in such a historic place and learning about the history from local residents.
After Christmas Wisecraft will start their John Muir award working in Larghan park, Coupar Angus to help the community build a Willow playarea while learning skills in coppicing. For more information please contact Greenspace Ranger Alistair Macleod email@example.com
Below:- Some of the Wisecraft volunteers taking part in various tasks
Invasive Species are a tricky thing in Tayside. There is a multitude of different invasive species and they all come with different challenges. It is very difficult to conquer these without a catchment wide approach and large amount of parties working together to tackle it.
Invasive species alter our natural environment, they out-compete other native species and dominate areas, creating habitats which don’t provide the diversity our wildlife need to sustain themselves and their populations.
Himalayan Balsam – An Invasive Species
The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative was covered on BBC Landward recently. This is a project funded over the next 3 years to tackle invasive species within several areas including Tayside.
There are training and volunteering opportunities within it find out more information here: https://www.invasivespecies.scot/about-us.
These are great skills to develop for those who are part of the groups we support or lead and also for those looking to get involved in the land management sector.
South Perth Greenspace Group volunteer in Greenspaces owned by the Council and other landowners including Dupplin Estate. The rain didn’t dampen the sprits of eight enthusiastic volunteers who coppiced an area of Craigie Community Wood 24th November .
Coppicing is the traditional rural skill of cutting small trees to encourage more small stems to grow back. This adds diversity to the woodland by creating more variety of tree ages and the new stems are favoured as bird nesting sites.
Traditionally, most broadleaf trees were coppiced to provide wood for a long list of household items such as furniture and broom handles. All the branches cut on Saturday will be used to create traditional fencing and the cut stumps will produce new shoots in the spring. The area was fenced by the Tay Landscape Partnership to prevent rabbit and deer nibbling on the tasty fresh shoots.
Thank you to South Perth Greenspace Group for all their hard work and to Torquil Varity for his coppicing expertise and advice.
South Perth Greenspace Group meet every month on the first Tuesday at 7.30pm in the Glenearn Community Campus and new faces are always very welcome.
Badger the Collie was a great help while coppicing!
Click here to download the Funding Alert.
Welcome to the December edition of the Funding Alert. Please click the link above to download the Alert in PDF format.
Of particular note this month is the deadline for Common Good Fund applications which is 20 December.
The Community Planning Partnership has a Facebook page!
Like Perth & Kinross Community Planning Partnership on Facebook to keep up to date with the work of the partnership.
In order to keep the paths on our countryside sites in good condition we need to prevent too much water from the undergrowth from flowing onto the path. Of course, it is never possible to keep the path completely dry, so the path is usually shaped to ensure that water is able to run off the path rather than puddling. An important method for this is to have drainage ditches on some of the wetter parts of the paths to allow water to run away from, and underneath, the paths. At this time of year, once all the leaves have come off the trees, it isn’t unusual to find that drains suddenly become clogged – more so if the drains haven’t been cleared for a couple of years.
We were recently joined by the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers (PSYV) to undertake some work on the drainage ditches on Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park to maintain the high quality paths. Despite a bit of rain, the 13 volunteers worked along a stretch of the pathway on the western side of Kinnoull Hill. While in the area we took the opportunity to remove some of the younger beech trees, in keeping with our long-term plan of encouraging the regeneration of native oak, birch and pines trees.
The PSYV did a fantastic job, both at clearing the ditches and removing surrounding vegetation and beech. Although the ditches hadn’t quite reached the stage of being fully clogged up the difference before and after was still quite significant, and now the ditches should be good for a couple more years. To find out more about the PSYV visit their website or check them out on their Facebook page.
For more information about volunteering with community greenspace in your area, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01738 475000.