In normal circumstances the PKC Greenspace Rangers are fortunate enough to work closely with many different volunteer and community groups; including leading conservation tasks, helping achieve John Muir Awards, undertaking path maintenance and helping raise funds for larger projects. During the current pandemic and social distancing the rangers have not been able to do many of the projects and tasks that we had planned. So what have the rangers been getting up to?
Some of the normal duties are still possible to continue, such as responding to dangerous trees and access issues, but for the most part we have been working from home. We have used this as an opportunity to catch up on some of the less-exciting paperwork that comes with the job such as writing and updating risk assessments! Other things we have been able to do from home include working on site management plans and keeping in touch with our many wonderful volunteer groups (if you haven’t seen our recent paths group newsletter – check it out here!).
Some new duties have also popped up as a result. At the start of lockdown we put signs up around may of our greenspaces with outdoor access guidance. More recently we have been given the opportunity to help other departments with critical services; delivering food parcels to those needing additional support at this time, and delivering leaflets reaching out to as many people as possible about the different support available to anyone that may need it. If you are resident in Perth & Kinross and require additional support please visit this web-page https://www.pkc.gov.uk/coronavirus/communitysupport.
With so many people stuck at home and taking their daily exercise as locally as possible many paths are seeing more foot traffic than usual. If heading out on a walk please remember to take away or dispose of any litter and to pick up after your dog. Check the Scottish Outdoor Access Code for advice on walking responsibly.
At this time of year lambing is also well underway, so it is particularly important to keep dogs under close control where there may be livestock. Dogs can cause unnecessary worry that may contribute to the premature death of sheep as well as any unborn lambs. If you need to go into a field of sheep, keep your dog on a short lead or close at heel and keep your distance from the animals.
In the video below Bob Barr and Kate Hall share there experiences of dogs worrying sheep in the Lothians.
This is an exciting opportunity for a Greenspace Ranger to join the team to identify opportunities and encourage volunteering in a wide range of Council greenspaces. They will assist with community engagement on greenspace projects and themes and implement an agreed programme of greenspace maintenance tasks to provide opportunities for community involvement and management on greenspace sites and paths networks. This is not a traditional ranger role and an essential part of the role is to undertake site condition inspections for repair programmes and safety purposes including tree and water safety inspections.
The job advert closes on Tuesday 3rd March, so make sure and get your applications in on time!
Saturday (25th) was the first task of the year for the Crieff Paths Group, who were delighted to be joined by a few new members. Armed with a full arsenal of spades, rakes, drainage rods and more, we tackled several of the drainage ditches and culverts along one of Crieff’s most popular paths; Lady Mary’s Walk.
Months (& years!) of leaf litter build-up and vegetation growth had filled in ditches and blocked off culverts. These require occasional maintenance so that water can run off freely without damaging or flooding the path.
Lady Mary’s Walk runs alongside the River Earn and the old dismantled railway. Some of the old railway drainage run offs are still in place, of which one had been overflowing and had started to affect the path. We managed to clear this out and could see immediately that the water was flowing correctly into the ditch and through the culvert into the Earn.
There is still some work to be done along Lady Mary’s Walk, and other paths in the Crieff area will require attention. The group plan to meet on the last Saturday of each month (usually 10.30-12.30) and hope to meet on Wed 19th Feb in addition to this.
If you would be keen to join in with the Crieff Paths Group on future projects, or would like to find out more, please contact the Strathearn Greenspace Ranger, Calum, on firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Crieff Community Trust on email@example.com (or check out their facebook page).
REMINDER: We also have a Paths Group Networking and Training Event in Pitlochry on the 27th Feb – book now to ensure your place!
On 5th December a group of 20 volunteers – both members of the pubic and council employees – gathered to plant 88 trees up at Viewlands Park in Perth. We were lucky with the weather as a window of relatively rain-free opportunity was open to us for the hour and a half we were there. It’s surprising how quickly you can plant that many whips with a good few hands to the task, and makes you think what a difference can be made while having fun out in the fresh air. Now we just have to hope that they will thrive in time and give all the good things: beautiful foliage, cleaner air, habitat for fellow creatures, and extra carbon sink in these times of climate uncertainty.
By the end, a steaming cuppa and a biccy were welcome rewards!
We have a growing network of paths groups that help to maintain many of the paths within Perth and Kinross. Tasks undertaken in this year alone includes vegetation management, grass cutting, addition and improvement of signage, creation of new paths/restoration of old paths, litter picking, learned how to operate strimmers/leafblowers and flails, bridge building and general access improvements. We hope to continue the great work next year!
Visit this page to find out more about the various paths groups and what the work that they do.