Crieff High School Group

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.

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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.

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The Art of Coppicing

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.

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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…

 

 

 

 

Rattray Fun with Nature event.

Community Greenspace recently attended the family fun with nature event at Rattray primary school. The event was used to promote the fantastic parks and open spaces which are in the area. In particular the Loon Braes which is less than five minutes walk form the event. Greenspace Rangers Alistair and Joanna had a range of activities on offer including pond dipping with mini-beasts from the Loon Braes pond, scavenger hunts plus animal mask making. Over 130 adults and children visited the stall and the rangers were able to engage and explain the importance of our greenspaces for both wildlife and recreation.

The event was run in conjunction with community learning and included a visit from the wild about Scotland bus and visitors enjoyed a free nature themed lunch.

Crieff High School Group January Round up

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Group doing drainage at Lady Mary’s

The school group have been busy since the start of the year.

The winter weather looked like it was going to snow the group off but the pupils were given the option and decided they would still like to go out! So we headed to the park to carry out some tool maintenance. The group have been learning about all the different tools and how to maintain them,  they are now so skilled they tell me how its maintained! The weather did progressively get worse so we did curtail the task as pupils started to get a little blue!

Fortunately the following week the weather was a little better and we headed down to Lady Mary’s Walk and the group worked really hard on the

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Group working on the broom up the Knock

drainage (just in time for all the snow melt and rain that we had!). They really enjoyed this task and even asked if they can do it again which is really positive. Ensuring the drains are clear prevent the risk of the paths flooding so its important that we keep them flowing.

Finally this week the group were up the knock carrying out some of the broom management as part of the forest management plan. We were using tree poppers which are a useful tool that remove trees and shrubs from the roots. This is a task the group had done before so they are well versed in it and put in a great effort to finish off the section that we hard started before. Removing the broom is important as it acts like an invasive, takes over and out-competes other vegetation such as trees.

The group are going to be looking at some more drainage work, some path maintenance work and some willow weaving soon!

Sawing Saplings with the School

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Pupil Removing one of the saplings

Every Tuesday a group come out from Crieff High School to help manage the woodland and park sites around the town. Whilst the group find the school environment a struggle they thrive in practical and outdoor activities. They are learning and developing skills that hopefully will assist them in getting in to training  and eventually a career in the future.

Recently the group were up the Knock carrying out some heathland management.  Using  loppers and saws the group were cutting any saplings or scrub that was developing within the heathland.

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Scleroderma citrinum Pers. – Common Earthball Found while working

 

The reason that we remove the saplings is because if we didn’t we would lose the heathland as it would turn in to woodland eventually. Heathland is a Biodiveristy Action plan priority habitat and supports a wide range of wildlife such as the earth ball seen in the picture to the left that the group discovered while carrying out the task.

 

By carrying out the brilliant work that the group do, they are learning about different habitats, the importance of those habitats and why sometimes we need to prevent natural succession to protect them  and also about the wildlife within those habitats. They are also assisting Community Greenspace achieve objectives and helping to keep the sites maintained.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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/