Junior Rangers from Pitlochry High School recently gave up their Saturday to help tidy up the pond in the Beatrix Potter Garden in Birnam. The pond had become chocked with weed, litter and mud which was restricting the look of the pond and the habitat on offer.
Using waterproofs and waiders the group made fast work of this dirty but rewarding task.
This task is just one of many which are run by local ranger services throughout the year working with many partners, which allows the pupils to get enough experience to gain both the Junior Ranger award and the John Muir award.
Next month we will back out working on the Birnam hill path.
The Junior Ranger scheme takes place in national parks across Europe. More information can be found on the attached link:- https://www.europarc.org/nature/young-people/junior-ranger-programme/
Junior Rangers from Pitlochry High school recently spent the day working on the Dunkled footpath network. Improving and maintaining the steps at the summit of Birnam Hill.
After an hours walk with tools and equipment the Junior Rangers were tasked to dig out and use locally collected stone to fill in the steps. This involved working as a team to move the stone in buckets to the work site up the hill.
With spectacular views south Birnam Hill is well worth a visit. For more information please download the attached map. https://www.pkct.org/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=28c2613b-3c5d-4747-937a-196135d5fcba%20
The steps before and after
Perth and Kinross Community Greenspace Rangers enjoy working with Pitlochry High Pupils in order for them to get their Junior Ranger and John Muir Award (Conserve level) awards. The last task held in November was a challenge for everyone… in their own words…
25/11/17- Black Spout Wood- Replanting Seedlings
The S3 Junior Ranger group travelled on the minibus to Pitlochry’s Black Spout Woods on a winter day that crept in through our multiple layers of clothes with gelid fingers, so it was best to get working as quickly as possible. Our task was explained to us by Jeannie, to replant seedlings or saplings away from the adjacent archaeological site, an Iron Age building explored in 2005-2009 (the building was discovered to be approximately from 250 BC- 50 AD), to conserve the site by ensuring the site is devoid of trees in case the trees take over the ancient site.
We spilt into groups of roughly two or three to complete our task. Firstly, we would select a seedling to move, this was facilitated with small pieces of red and white plastic tape tied around some saplings and dig a square with a spade around it. This was done so that the roots of the tree remained intact. This was imperative as it ensured the tree would have the best chance with some pre-establishment when it was relocated.
We then found a small glade in the forest to plant the tree, it is best to give the tree as much sunlight space as possible. A square was then dug out, and the turf put to one side to be utilised later, which was deep enough to accommodate the tree’s roots and with a periphery of space around. The tree would be positioned and the turf would be packed in around it, upside down in order so that the tree would have a good opportunity to grow and we pushed the soil down by stamping thoroughly.
After the tree was planted we needed to fortify it against overgrazing from animals such as deer grazing on it and destroying it. We would place 2 or 4 poles (depending on the size of the seedling) as a base to wrap the chicken wire around. In order to do this we would firstly construct a hole to hold the pole utilising a pinch-bar, we would lift the pinch-bar up and let it drop and the weight of the pinch-bar would create a hole. The hole would be made more capacious (not too large although in order to give the pole stability) by moving the pinch-bar in a circular motion in this hole. The wooden pole (chosen as it is rather cheap and conforms to the surrounding environment) would then be inserted and secured with a metal open-bottomed cylinder with handles on each side (this was very effective but cumbersome due to weight so some of us required assistance) and this had the same effect of the pinch-bar, we would lift it up and use the weight of its fall to secure the pole. We would continue doing this until the pole was sufficiently in.
After the poles were fixed in we would then wrap and secure the chicken wire around the tree. We approximated the length the chicken wire and cut them utilising a multi-functional device with a wire-cutter included. To secure the chicken wire on the poles we could either utilise a stapler or nail a large nail a third of the way in and then we would deliberately bend it over to secure it.
We then consumed our lunch in the warmth of the mini-bus and after this we finished fixing the protection.
Our next job was to plant holly bushes and hazel saplings which then could be used in later years in producing berries and nuts to help the environment as it helps to feed local wildlife such as red squirrels helping them to survive the year. These were donated by SEPA. Our method of doing this was utilising a spade to dig a small hole in the soil and securing the plant in. In order to protect the plant we would stick a small wooden pole in the soil diagonally towards the plant and use it to support a hollow plastic cylinder that was around the plant to protect it from overgrazing. We attempted to spread these plants out as much as possible and avoid grouping the same plants together so we would not be planting plantations that only support certain species.
Overall, the entire group that came really enjoyed it and are grateful to Jeannie for taking the time to do this with us.
Community Greenspace Rangers have been supporting the Junior Ranger scheme administered by Cairngorm National Park and delivered in a partnership between Highland Perthshire’s Ranger Services via Pitlochry High School. As we approach the half way point of the second year that Community Greenspace has been involved in, I thought it would be good to see some of the last years project from their presentation at the end of the introduction week through to one of their final articles written. The photos show their final task with Community Greenspace supporting Rannoch in Bloom and Rannoch path Group.
It is also good to report that all participants completed their Junior Ranger Award and their John Muir Conserve Award.
Black Spout Wood
“We all love the Kelly kettle so much because we always have hot chocolate to bump up the calories after burning off so many. We especially loved it after we went to Black Spout Woods where we cut down dead trees and dominating tree species. This is to allow the hazel and oak trees to grow, as a result of other domineering trees its numbers are sparse.
We also tried out the emergency tent, which was fun although a little cramped. It is designed for use if you ever get lost to protect from the elements and hypothermia.
The highlight was definitely the hot chocolate although we had to wait a while because there was a dramatic moment when someone knocked it over.” Elah Cohen
The Junior Ranger Team
Hill side path drainage clean.
Pitlochry Junior Ranger Scheme joined the Highland Greenspace Ranger on a cold but bright Sunday in December to carry out vital woodland management works.
They all helped to clear sycamore, which is spreading in particular in one corner of the woodland. Using loppers and bow saws they cleared naturally regenerated trees. Some even had a go at felling small trees, using tree felling techniques. Watch this space as those involved will be writing their own blog.
If you are a group wanting to carry out work or a project in the great outdoors, the Community Greenspace team are here to help.