Ranger Services from throughout Highland Perthshire, including the National Trust and the Cairngorms National park help to deliver the Junior Ranger Scheme annually at Pitlochry High School. In its third year PKC Greenspace Rangers were invited to get involved.
To date the Group has joined me (Jeannie Grant, Highland Greenspace Ranger) to help complete the planned PKC Forest Plan works and footpath maintenance in the Pitlochry Area.
While taking part in the Junior Ranger Scheme pupils also complete their John Muir Conserve Award. One of the remits of this is that participants share their experiences. I requested that the participants write a short article on their experiences.
So in their own words;
Sycamore clearing day Saturday 5th Dec from Hannah
On Saturday 5th December, four of us (Ellie, Cameron, Callum and I) and some of the S4’s travelled to Black Spout woods with Jeannie & Mr Kearney to clear sycamore saplings and trees. Sycamore is a dominating species that easily spreads, taking over parts of the woods. It can be identified by its green buds – not to be confused with ash that has black buds – and our job was to get rid of them. We snipped the tiny sycamore trees with loppers and bow-sawed the bigger ones. Some really large trees we had to use the bird’s mouth technique which is where you cut into the trunk diagonally & then horizontally to remove a chunk. You then cut horizontally across from the other side and the tree will fall in the direction the chunk was removed.
At lunch we toasted marshmallows on the Kelly kettle and also tried out the four person emergency tent which is basically a large waterproof sheet that you pull down over the top of you, then pull in the edges and sit on them. It was actually surprisingly warm inside.
After lunch we continued clearing.
Rhododendron clearing day sat 14th November from Cameron
On Saturday 14th November 2015 the Pitlochry high school junior rangers went to the lower slopes of Ben Y Vrackie to cut down rhododendrons that were invading the majority of the path so we had to cut a lot down. When we were doing the task we had to count the people who walking up the hill to see how much money should be spent on repairing the path.
We went up to the rhododendrons. We then started to cut them down. We all had areas each while Jeannie and Mr Kearney took the branches that we cut down to habitat piles. Habitat piles are piles of branches where little animals and bugs can live as it naturally decomposes.
We had lunch and some hot chocolate from Jeannie’s Kelly Kettle.
After lunch we went back to finish off the job. There were overhanging branches up the path so a couple of us went and got them as the others completed the rhododendrons and made the path neat. We all had a great day and all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Author: Jeannie Grant