The Green Routes Group in Crieff was busy last Thursday creating some tree pits for a few of the trees along the lade-side in MacRosty Park. We were lucky enough to be joined by Graham from another department within the council, and Sebastienne from the NHS.
Tree pits are used for several purposes, and can be very small or vast in size – depending on the location and the size of the tree. In the case of these trees the pits were created to prevent grass from growing right up to the base of the tree. When cutting grass that is too close to the base of the tree there is a risk of damaging the tree with the cutting equipment.
To create these pits we needed to dig out the top 4-6 inches of soil from around the base of the trees. We then put down some mulch matting to prevent weeds from growing as readily, and filled in the rest with bark. Once finished the pits looked great, and should require very little maintenance each year, other than occasional top-up of bark.
A unique partnership is being launched on Saturday the 20 January at Killiecrankie Village Hall. Three separate Ranger services are joining forces to launch and run the “Caring for the Cairngorms – Perthshire” group, namely Perth and Kinross Council Community Greenspace, National Trust for Scotland ranger service and Atholl estates Ranger service.
The group aims to bring people to work on footpaths, habitats and wildlife and path surveys. The group will meet twice a month at various locations. All tasks will start at 1000, with some of them finishing at 1230 and others at 1500. It is a great opportunity to make a difference on your doorstep or an area you enjoy visiting.
“This new adventure would not be possible without staff from the Cairngorm National Park facilitating and administrating this venture. ” Jeannie Grant from Perth and Kinross Council Community Greenspace.
I have recently had the opportunity to work with pupils from our local school who are working towards their John Muir Award
The group have taken part in activities from kayaking, to rock climbing and they are now entering the conservation phase of their Award.
To aid this I took the group to the Knock in Crieff to carry out some bracken bashing and heathland management. During the day the group learned that it was important to control the bracken on the Knock as it shrouds out new tree growth and also prevents ground flora. On their second visit they learned about the heathland – a priority habitat for biodiversity as there is so little left in the United Kingdom.
It is not often that a Ranger sees the process through from creating a bird box with the public all the way through to it being put on a tree and hopefully in use!
In May 2016 the Community Greenspace Ranger in the Highland area supported the Cairngorm Park Nature Festival weekend by running a bird box building session. These bird boxes were then installed by the Scouts from all over Europe during the Scout Jamboree hosted by Atholl Estates. It is hoped that those that created the boxes will easily recognise their boxes whilst using the paths around Blair Atholl! It would be great to hear if the boxes are being used.
The finished boxes, all with their own “identification” markings.
The Zero waste coordinator Highland Perthshire, set about to help and coordinate a litter pick on the shores of Loch Rannoch after requests came in from the Loch Rannoch Conservation Association Wardens and the Rannoch and Tummel Tourism Association. Having the equipment that is needed I couldn’t resist in joining in!
The warm day unfortunately did not bring out the crowds but the small team cleared 250m of shoreline at the war memorial and picked up between just under 10kg of rubbish! Potentially, there could be an estimate of 140kg along the total shoreline length of Loch Rannoch. Another event is planned for the end of the growing and tourism season (September-October). Why not join in and make a difference? To be kept in the loop contact the supporting ranger Jeannie via email@example.com
Perth and Kinross conservation Volunteers had a planned task of Management plan works in the Birks of Aberfeldy. unfortunately, none of the volunteers were available BUT the work still happened due to Abernethy Ardeonaig “Gappies” joining Jeannie to get the work done. All involved are completing their John Muir Awards and have written a short article on their experiences. So in their own words;
“On Saturday 7th May and Sunday 22nd May, small groups of Abernethy Ardeonaig staff used the day to volunteer with Jeannie Grant, conserving the Birks of Aberfeldy area. I went on the Sunday. We spent the day next to the bench look-out point on the right hand side of the walkway. Jeannie told us all about how to tell between the different trees, and what ones we would be working with. Our job was to remove the beech trees as they are becoming a dominant species, not allowing other plants to grow. We used a variety of tools including spades, loppers and a bow saw. Everyone split away to different areas and started pulling up the small beech trees, snipping the bigger ones, digging out the roots and some were sawn down. We additionally learnt how to make a fire in a Kelly kettle base so that it was safe and controlled, using small broken twigs, cotton wool and Vaseline. Once the fire was going we toasted marshmallows, celebrating the work and effort put into the day. By the middle of the afternoon the area looked clearer, and a big difference could be seen. It will take a while to clear the whole Birks area, but every bit of volunteering helps and makes a big impact.”
I wanted to share some photographs of our wonderful volunteers in MacRosty Park who braved the torrential rain on Thursday 19th May to help Community Greenspace and the Friends of MacRosty Park gap-up the roadside beds and the Tea Garden.
The finished boxes, all with their own “identification” markings.
The Zero Waste Highland Perthshire Officer and the Bike Station in Perth have set a challenge to the Highland Area Ranger to recycle tyres from bicycles! Not the inner tubes but the actual tyre! In return a large amount of inner tubes from bicycles will be provided to put up bird boxes in two parks (Pitlochry recreation ground and Memorial Park in Blair Atholl).
With the challenge set, Jeannie decided to use the tyres cut up in sections as hinges of the bird boxes made at the Gala Day at Pitlochry recreation ground and at the Cairngorm Park Nature Festival weekend in Blair Atholl. Road bike tyres worked fine but mountain bike tyres were too chunky! So with half of the challenge completed the thinking cap needs to go on how mountain bike tyres can be recycled!
The Association had received a donation from the Woodland Trust of 420 young native trees which were suitable for planting throughout the site to not only encourage more wildlife but also provide a windbreak around the boundary of the site in the Turfhills area of Kinross.
In addition to the 30 allotment plots, which are in their second season the site also provides a community garden area. The facility is used by local residents including the local children’s gardening club, Kinross High School’s Learning Support Department, the local day centre for older people and the ‘Broke not Broken’ Group who plan to grow food at the site.
To improve the allotments further, the Unpaid Work Team delivered a load of compost for the gardeners’ use and also laid some slabs next to the Association’s main polytunnel to improve access.
Anyone interested in engaging the services of the Unpaid Work Team, (which are free of charge), to carry out tasks for the benefit of the community should complete an application form which can be obtained by telephoning 01738 445793 or 472564 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org