In normal circumstances the PKC Greenspace Rangers are fortunate enough to work closely with many different volunteer and community groups; including leading conservation tasks, helping achieve John Muir Awards, undertaking path maintenance and helping raise funds for larger projects. During the current pandemic and social distancing the rangers have not been able to do many of the projects and tasks that we had planned. So what have the rangers been getting up to?
Some of the normal duties are still possible to continue, such as responding to dangerous trees and access issues, but for the most part we have been working from home. We have used this as an opportunity to catch up on some of the less-exciting paperwork that comes with the job such as writing and updating risk assessments! Other things we have been able to do from home include working on site management plans and keeping in touch with our many wonderful volunteer groups (if you haven’t seen our recent paths group newsletter – check it out here!).
Some new duties have also popped up as a result. At the start of lockdown we put signs up around may of our greenspaces with outdoor access guidance. More recently we have been given the opportunity to help other departments with critical services; delivering food parcels to those needing additional support at this time, and delivering leaflets reaching out to as many people as possible about the different support available to anyone that may need it. If you are resident in Perth & Kinross and require additional support please visit this web-page https://www.pkc.gov.uk/coronavirus/communitysupport.
This is an exciting opportunity for a Greenspace Ranger to join the team to identify opportunities and encourage volunteering in a wide range of Council greenspaces. They will assist with community engagement on greenspace projects and themes and implement an agreed programme of greenspace maintenance tasks to provide opportunities for community involvement and management on greenspace sites and paths networks. This is not a traditional ranger role and an essential part of the role is to undertake site condition inspections for repair programmes and safety purposes including tree and water safety inspections.
The job advert closes on Tuesday 3rd March, so make sure and get your applications in on time!
Saturday (25th) was the first task of the year for the Crieff Paths Group, who were delighted to be joined by a few new members. Armed with a full arsenal of spades, rakes, drainage rods and more, we tackled several of the drainage ditches and culverts along one of Crieff’s most popular paths; Lady Mary’s Walk.
Months (& years!) of leaf litter build-up and vegetation growth had filled in ditches and blocked off culverts. These require occasional maintenance so that water can run off freely without damaging or flooding the path.
Lady Mary’s Walk runs alongside the River Earn and the old dismantled railway. Some of the old railway drainage run offs are still in place, of which one had been overflowing and had started to affect the path. We managed to clear this out and could see immediately that the water was flowing correctly into the ditch and through the culvert into the Earn.
There is still some work to be done along Lady Mary’s Walk, and other paths in the Crieff area will require attention. The group plan to meet on the last Saturday of each month (usually 10.30-12.30) and hope to meet on Wed 19th Feb in addition to this.
If you would be keen to join in with the Crieff Paths Group on future projects, or would like to find out more, please contact the Strathearn Greenspace Ranger, Calum, on firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Crieff Community Trust on email@example.com (or check out their facebook page).
REMINDER: We also have a Paths Group Networking and Training Event in Pitlochry on the 27th Feb – book now to ensure your place!
We have a growing network of paths groups that help to maintain many of the paths within Perth and Kinross. Tasks undertaken in this year alone includes vegetation management, grass cutting, addition and improvement of signage, creation of new paths/restoration of old paths, litter picking, learned how to operate strimmers/leafblowers and flails, bridge building and general access improvements. We hope to continue the great work next year!
Visit this page to find out more about the various paths groups and what the work that they do.
On 22nd November we went out to meet the Portmoak Path Group, bringing along our “flail” – essentially a large grass cutter capable of cutting long and thick undergrowth. We were cutting the vegetation and grass along a 600m length of core path between Kinnesswood and Portmoak Moss, before it gets too overgrown. Despite a bit of rain, the flail made short work of the cutting while some volunteers used machetes to remove some bracken on the path edge.
Andrew from the group tackling the path edge
Reminding ourselves which button does what…
The freshly cut path – ready to be walked!
Calum taking the flail for a spin
The Portmoak Paths Group meets almost every week to maintain a variety of paths in the Kinnesswood/Baldegie area. If you would like to be involved, or to be put in contact with the group please contact Ranger Calum at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m Calum Bachell, and I will be covering the South Perth and Kinross area until January 2019. Having worked as part of the community greenspace team as a graduate trainee in 2015 I was delighted to come back as a greenspace ranger.
Between leaving PKC in 2015 and now I have completed a Master’s degree in Biology at the University of Tromsø; spending 1 year in Tromsø and another 1 ½ years in Svalbard. I focussed on studying nest defence behaviour in eider ducks against arctic foxes and predatory birds. After completion of my degree I worked a field season for the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, researching and monitoring seabird populations on the west coast of Norway.
My background is largely in ecology and wildlife, having studied a BSc in Ecological Science at The University of Edinburgh between 2010 and 2014. Working now as a Ranger allows me to apply my knowledge and experience in Greenspace sites in Perthshire. Now based back in Scotland I look forward to covering the South Perthshire area, including the incredible Kinnoull Hill, Loch Leven Heritage Trail and other great greenspaces in the area.
Community Greenspace Partnership Officer Kirsty Scott is currently supporting 15 partnership projects throughout the Perth and Kinross area. One of these projects is the improvement of Perth Lade. Since starting work on the project in early summer 2017 we have achieved the following:
Removed dangerous trees and self-seeders and cut back branches effecting the street lighting,
Worked with the City of Perth Early Childhood Centre to design posters for a no littering/dog fouling campaign. We also carried out planting of a bed at Rae Place, Perth with the pre-school group.
Vegetation clearance and litter removal has been carried out in the lade (we are governed by SEPA on the quantity and methods of removal)
Where required the fencing along some parts has been replaced and repaired.
Planted bulbs with Tulloch Blooming Lade, which will bring year on year colour to the area.
Tulloch Blooming lade carry out litter picks in the Tulloch area – they do have a Facebook page where you can view some of their work.
We provide groups with litter picks and gardening tools.
Working with Community Payback to arrange graffiti removal and the painting of railings.
We hosted our ‘Lade Action Day‘ on the 26 October 2017 with Balfour Beatty, PKC Operations Team and community volunteers from Beautiful Perth and other local groups.
Looking to the future we will be hosting our annual ‘Lade Action Day’ on Friday 26 October 2018. Kirsty will also be working with Tulloch Primary School focusing on the lade improvements/history of the lade.
We are delighted with the work and progress so far and believe that this is the beginning of a great community partnership.
While our Operations team and community volunteers do a great job, they are often faced with reoccurring litter, fly-tipping and vandalism. While we are committed to working on this with the resources we have available, we are reliant on the support and involvement of those who ‘love the lade’.
for more information, or to get involved. please contact Kirsty Scott or Joanna Dick (Perth Greenspace Ranger) through our contacts page