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



Partnership Working in their words – Rannoch Path Group

As a Ranger it is easy to sell the benefits of volunteering but not often do we hear what the participants have to say.  The Ranger from Highland Perthshire worked with two different groups from Abernethy Ardeonaig Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) residents and the Rannoch Path Group.  As part of their experience to gain the John Muir Award participants were asked to write a few words of their experience…

Week 1

As part of our DofE Gold Residential, we undertook two days of conservation volunteering with Annie from the Rannoch Path Group and Jeannie, the PKC Community Greenspace Ranger. On the first day, we met at the Lassintulloch forest entrance and set off on the path to MacGregor’s Cave.

There was a lot of bracken growing at the sides, so we used bracken bashers to bruise the stems, which weakens the bracken if repeated over a number of years. We also used loppers to cut back some vegetation which was a trip hazard, as well as some overhanging branches by the stepping stones over the burn.

On the second day we cleared the Hillside Path in Kinloch Rannoch, again using bracken bashers and loppers. We also used bow saws to cut back some fallen trees which were across the path, and a scythe for the long grass. We loved using the tools!

The paths are in a beautiful area, and we hope that people will be able to use them walking side by side rather than just in single file.

Andrew, Guy, Michael and Will

Week 2

When we signed up to an Environment & Conservation Residential, I don’t think any of us pictured the following scene: standing in the pouring rain beside a raging (but still beautiful) waterfall. Yet we were there, and we were enjoying it to boot!

Maybe it was down to the company – the group of us who had not met before this week, and since had become the best of friends. Maybe it was down to the instruction – Jeannie, Annie and the Abernethy Team had created an incredible environment in which to work. Yet I suspect it was both of these and more.

The work we were doing felt meaningful. We began by widening a path, then lopping trees, bashing bracken, digging ditches, scooping bark and, in the end, improving the views. Of course, none of this could have been done without a set of awesome (yet dangerous) tools that kept us on our toes!

All was rounded off with a few great surprises – a walker who left a goody-bag for us as thanks for our work greatly boosted morale, the use of a Kelly Kettle for a welcome cuppa and toasted marshmallows created a community atmosphere, and the chance to meet some amazing volunteers made the experience truly excellent, despite the Scottish weather.

James & Ben, on behalf of the rest of the team: Dion, Gianna, Rachel, Kate, Meaghan, Chloe, Bethan, Cecilia & Sophie

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