Revamp of the mini bog at Rannoch Station.

A challenge has been set between the Rannoch Station Bloom Group and the Rannoch Path Group to jointly work on a project!  However, the challenge has grown arms and legs! The priority was to fix and clean a boardwalk, but has developed into restoring the mini bog and provide an access for all eating area for visitors and locals.

The mini bog and boardwalk were developed by the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust over 20 years ago, which not only included the boardwalk and bog but also a shelter and way marker.  All of these features have been a huge asset to the car park area and just need a little work to bring them back to their former glory.

The first session saw five volunteers almost madden by the midge…. the first day of them appearing as well!  Midge nets and a fan did save the day!  In three hours the group dealt with the broken section of boardwalk, cutting back encroaching vegetation, crown lifting on neighbouring trees, litter picking and cleaning of the information board.

If you are interested in joining these groups to restore the mini bog, please contact Annie on rannochscotland@gmail.com or Jeannie at jgrant@pkc.gov.uk and you will be contacted with times and meeting place for the next stage of restoration in November.

In the volunteers own words of their experience, please see the facebook post below.

Rannoch Station Tearoom shared a post.

Many Thanks to Jeannie and the Rannoch Paths Group for their work at Rannoch Station Car Park yesterday

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Annie Benson added 7 new photos to the album: Rannoch Paths Group.

Lead by Jeannie Grant PKC Greenspace Ranger 4 members of Rannoch Paths Group joined Rannoch Station in Bloom to START the renovation of the board walk at the station. Clearing, chopping and fixing. Pressure washing supplied by Moor of Rannoch Hotel and sustenance provided by Tea Room who saved the day with cake and welcome midge head bags! Future plans are to interpret and reinstate the bog garden.

Recycling and Management Plans

During the schools half term, The Abernethy Trust – Ardeonaig centre hosted another residential week for Duke of Edinburgh Gold participants.   With Community Greenspace having a never ending management of beech trees in the Birks of Aberfeldy it was good to host this group for a day in far from ideal conditions! In their own words find out more about their day and how the beech was recycled….

Conservation Volunteering at the Birks of Aberfeldy

During our day at the Birks, we spent the majority of the time removing non-native species such as beech. It was interesting to learn about the impact the beeches were having on the other trees in the area; the beech is invasive and outcompetes with native species for light and soil nutrients. Therefore, it was important to remove them. We did this using a variety of tools. Our favourite tool was, of course, the ‘tree popper’, as there was a sense of satisfaction in removing the whole tree – root and all. Moreover, we were able to conserve the beech as part of our John Muir Award. We took the removed beech back to the centre at Ardeonaig and replanted them to make a hedge. This was gratifying as we felt we were making use of the beech’s ability to grow quickly in a hedge. Additionally, it allowed us to see how recycling is important in order to live a sustainable life. That day, we also planted willow and de-weeded the willow wigwam. Indeed, this was deeply satisfying as we were able to make a wild and slightly overgrown area tidy and more controlled. Despite the blizzard and the acrimonious winds, we thoroughly enjoyed the conservation.

Leo, Abbie, Sarah, Tom, Tom, Tammy, Calum, Megan & Amo

Abernethy Ardeonaig DofE Gold Residential (Environment & Conservation) Team

February 2018

 

 

Environmental Art Sessions

As part of Kids Week in Crieff Celebrations, Community Greenspace Ranger, Richard arranged an environmental art activity for children in MacRosty Park.

The activity consisted of children using natural materials to make pictures of living things that they might find in the park. The materials they used were all from the park as well.

Here are some of their creations, can you figure out what they are?

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We are told that one of these creations is of a Pokemon???!

Can some please educate our Rangers and let them know what a Pokemon is? What is it’s usual habitat? Is it a protected species?? Do we have many in our parks?? Will do we know if we stand on one!? 

If you see a Pokemon in our Parks, please share your photos with @PerthandKinross #loveyourgreenspace 

 

Shoreline Zero Waste

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 communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk  WP_20160608_001.jpg

Conservation Work in the Birks

20160507_11001220160507_11411020160522_150403IMG_6188IMG_6195Perth 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.”

Jess Newbigging

The Recycle Challenge

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!

Salmon in Our Classroom

by Primary 7 at St Madoes Primary School

On Tuesday the 2nd February, our salmon eggs arrived in the classroom. We had been given the tank the day before along with a presentation detailing how to care for our salmon eggs and an explanation of the life cycle of the Atlantic salmon.  Our eggs were transported by Mr Montgomery who was a Perth and Kinross Countryside Ranger; he was the expert who was guiding us through this wonderful process. Moreover he helped us to look after and care for our salmon eggs by phoning the school every single day to check our water temperature readings and to see if we had any problems. He was really enthusiastic about the project and he even came to fix the leak in the tank!  We really enjoyed having Mr Montgomery helping us as he was very friendly which made the project more enjoyable.

We had a month with our salmon in our classroom, where we had to check the water temperature 4 times a day as well as looking for mortalities. The temperature needed to remain under 10°C preferably about 7°C. We saw the salmon eyed eggs transform into alevins (these are the newly hatched salmon with yolk sacks) during this time.

StMadoesSalmon1

Sadly we had to release our alevins into Annaty Burn because their yolk sacks were running out of food. The alevins were turning into fry and needed to have a source of small water organisms or insects to feed on. We carried out fascinating field tests in order to make sure that the water was safe for the alevins to be released in to.  The field tests involved testing the PH level of the water, the speed of the water flow, the depth of the water where we would release our alevins, the temperature of the water and the water purity.  Mr Montgomery and Mrs Whyte (also a Perth and Kinross Countryside Ranger) led us in our field tests.

We also had a trip to the Tay Salmon Hatchery at Almondbank. There we were introduced to different members of staff who explained what their jobs involved in great depth.  Steve, the Hatchery manager, took us into a small cold room that contained 136 trays.  Each tray contained 5 000 salmon eggs or alevins that were checked daily for mortalities.  Steve also cared for grilse salmon that were kept in large tanks that looked like big round baths.  Steve had to train the wild salmon to eat in fresh water by hand feeding them with individual prawns on a large stick before moving them on to a special mix that he created and made daily.  We were fortunate enough to witness a salmon eating a prawn a sight that most people will never see.

StMadoesSalmon2

Craig, a bailiff, regularly patrolled the River Tay and its tributaries to make sure that anglers had the correct permits to fish there. He would also go around the rivers at night searching for poachers.  Craig showed us equipment that poachers used to catch salmon as well as the specialist equipment that he used to catch them red handed.  This consisted of a camouflaged suit, a variety of cameras, night vision binoculars and scopes.  He told us that he works closely with the local police and has the power to arrest poachers.  We think that it is pretty cool!

Mike, a marine biologist specialising in fish, showed us fry and smolt that had been caught in the River Almond that morning. He presented us with a ‘stunning’ device that looked like a huge and heavy metal detector which he explained was used to electro-fish.  This is where an electrical current is pulsed through the water for a few seconds and any fish in this area are temporarily stunned making them easy to catch with a net (This does not harm the fish).

Lastly we met Dr David Summers, the fisheries director, who talked us through a video of how they caught and transported the wild salmon from a variety of Highland Perthshire rivers back to the Almondbank hatchery. This was a very hard and laborious process as it was in a very cold and isolated environment.  He also discussed how they restock the tributaries of the River Tay with salmon eggs and alevins as well as the process involved in this.

The salmon project has been a wonderful experience and one that we would recommend to all primary school classes to take part in.

Oak planting, Perth *postponed

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Stuart McCash with some of the oak seedlings this week

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Location of St Mags Car Park, top of Glendevon Road.

Come and join us planting oak trees on St Magdalene’s Hill, Perth on Thursday, 17th March at 10am. Meet at the car park at the top of Glendevon Road (see map).

Stuart’s family have been collecting acorns from old street trees over the last few years and we have been using them to increase the number of oaks in the woodlands on St Magdalene’s Hill. So far we have planted several dozen and there are about 50 more to plant. We will need to construct some protection, so you can get creative, if you like.

St Magdalene’s Hill is a big site with a lot of interest and I look forward to seeing you there next week if you can make it.

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED. FURTHER DETAILS AND DATE WILL BE RELEASED IN DUE COURSE.

Salmon in the Classroom

Once again, the coming of March highlights our Salmon in the Classroom project where school-children from across Perth & Kinross are given the responsibility of looking after salmon eggs in their classrooms.

It’s great news once again for the ‘alevins’, as the newly-hatched salmon are called, as over 95% have successfully hatched this year.  Under the supervision of the Tay Salmon Fisheries Board the salmon will soon be released into burns where they will be monitored over the coming months.

Young Salmon

There are roughly 12 schools involved in this project each year, each of whom are asked to keep a diary of their project which is then entered into a competition with a £200 prize. Last year’s prize was split between Moncrieffe and Kirkmichael Primary Schools as it was declared a draw.

The winning school will be the one which produces a diary with lots of content and ideas as well as general facts about what they have learned about the Salmon lifecycle. The schools in the past have submitted models of salmon, poems and songs as part of their entry.

Among the schools involved this year are Stanley, St Madoes, and Rattray Primary Schools. Is your school involved?

You can find out more about this project in last year’s story here and more about the many conservation projects which the Tay Salmon Fisheries Board carry out here

www.pkc.gov.uk/article/2551/Biodiversity-Projects (ongoing Greenspace Rangers projects)

The Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board is the statutory body empowered to protect and improve the salmon fisheries in the Tay district.  http://www.tdsfb.org/index.html

The Tay Foundation is a Charitable Trust helping the River Tay and its tributaries, fish and environment. www.tayfoundation.org/

Room to Roam in Crieff – thank you volunteers!

A huge thank you to the Crieff Community Greenspace Volunteer group who were out last week widening the surface of a well-used footpath.

Vegetation had grown over the paths edges making it narrower than it used to be.

Crieff Community Greenspace Volunteers group is a run in partnership with the NHS and aims to help people get active outdoors to reap the many health benefits that green spaces have to offer.

Andrew from the group is using this experience to help achieve his Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Crieff Cons Vols (2)

Crieff Cons Vols (1)