What are the rangers doing in lockdown?

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!).

The 4 rangers on leaflet delivery duties – maintaining social distance of course!

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.

SSE in action at the Den O Alyth

 

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Community Greenspace work with communities to manage a variety of sites across the area including the Den O Alyth which is known for its native woodland, red sandstone geology and its freshwater ecology.

Recently staff from SSE Renewables as part of their corporate volunteer programme helped to conserve the den by working towards the aims of the management plan. Staff spent the morning working with the rangers to remove Beech Tree saplings from an area of native woodland using tree popping tools and bowsaws. Beech are not native to the area and out compete native stock so staff were given the opportunity to take the trees home to replant. In the afternoon footpaths were cleared of leaves and mud making a huge difference to the paths which crisscross site. As an extra challenge the team also removed a tractor tyre which had been fly-tipped.

This is the second time SSE have helped us at the Den O Alyth. The help is invaluable and allows the many objectives of the management plan to be achieved.  The team from SSE worked hard and enjoyed the challenges of doing something different.

To find out more about corporate volunteering please contact communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk

6th Green Flag for MacRosty Park

 

We are delighted to announce that MacRosty Park in Crieff has been awarded a Green Flag for a 6th year!

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, has welcomed the announcement which saw 70 successful parks being celebrated as 2016 award winners

Ms Cunningham visited MacRosty Park in Crieff today (Thursday 21 July) to celebrate it receiving the award for the sixth year running. Members of the Friends of MacRosty Park, Green Routes to Wellbeing and Perth and Kinross Council were on hand to celebrate how their hard work has helped to shape and improve this significant local space.

Councillor Michael Williamson, vice-convener of the Environment Committee of Perth & Kinross Council, said:

We are delighted that MacRosty Park has been awarded its sixth Green Flag Award by Keep Scotland Beautiful. It is an important public space in the heart of Crieff, and has proved invaluable as a venue for events and educational activities for the local community. Quality green spaces such as this are an important natural resource and bring great enjoyment to residents and visitors alike.

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All parks are assessed by volunteer judges with a background in parks management, conservation or ecology. Applicants are judged against testing criteria which includes assessing whether the park or green space is welcoming, safe, well-maintained and secure.

I would like to add a personal thank you from me (Ros) to everyone who helps in the park, in particular in the build up to the green flag assessment and celebration.  We got muddy, got wet (and sunburned) and hopefully we had fun regardless.  This would not have been possible without the support and enthusiasm of the volunteers and the Friends of MacRosty Park (past and present) and we are all incredibly grateful for their commitment.

 

MacRosty Park Volunteer Plantings (III)

Our brilliant volunteer group “Green Routes to Wellbeing” were busy in MacRosty Park last week getting our summer bedding into the flower beds at the Pavilion Café.  We hope that you agree that the volunteers new t-shirts look top-notch and the flower beds look brighter and more beautiful than ever!

If you would like to get involved with volunteering in MacRosty Park, or you would like more information about Green Routes to Wellbeing please contact Richard Armstrong (Greenspace Ranger) here

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

Atholl Estate Open day

A little out of  the ordinary day was had by the Highland Ranger, Jeannie!  She attended the Atholl Estates Day but NOT as a participant but working with Atholl Estate Ranger Service.  The object was to deliver the Scottish Outdoor Access Code in a fun and memorable manner!  It was a tried and tested game created by the Atholl Estate Ranger Service.  The game was split into seven areas, each with a challenge and a multiple choice question at the end!

What surprised both the new seasonal Ranger and Jeannie was the lack of understanding with regards to dogs and young livestock and how to climb over a gate properly!  The code is very clear that you should not enter an enclosed field where there are young livestock with a dog.  As for getting over the gate, always go at the hinge end, as it is the strongest section of the gate and doesn’t cause damage to the gate.

Lessons were learned and fun was had…. just look at the score board so many teams got 7/7 :)

 

 

Another Path!

The Pitlochry Path Group have spent two sessions improving the access road into the Black Spout Wood in Pitlochry for walkers and vehicles alike.  Since this work has not been carried out for a number of years it was a hard task.  With the un-likelihood of anybody else picking up the yearly maintenance required the group have decided to add this onto their rolling work programme.  Doing it on a yearly basis will make it more manageable.

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As the group take care of more and more tasks in the Pitlochry area, they are in need of community support via new volunteers and finances!  Anybody interested should contact the group via pitlochrypath@gmail.com.  Help can come in many forms and not just physical labour…

MacRosty Park Volunteer Plantings (the story so far…)

I wanted to share some photographs of our wonderful volunteers in MacRosty Park who braved the torrential rain on Thursday 19th May to help Community Greenspace and the Friends of MacRosty Park gap-up the roadside beds and the Tea Garden.

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Don’t forget you can join us on Saturday 21st May, 10.30-2.30pm to further titivate the park… Volunteering Opportunity – MacRosty Park, 19 & 21 May 2016

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!

If gloves could talk!

IMG_5973Rangers work with a large number of volunteers. To protect the hands they are provided with gloves. These do not stay clean for long! So they need to be washed before they walk or solidify into a hard mess.

But how do you wash and dry working gloves! The best way to clean them is non biological powder and air dry them! Easy! It is keeping the pairs that is the difficult bit!

So if you want to volunteer be rest assured that you are being provided with clean gloves and there is always a cuppa and biscuit to! So why not join one of the many planned conservation and path management task in Perthshire?!