Junior Rangers brave the cold;

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.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Gold Residential – Environment & Conservation Camp

The Community Greenspace Rangers often work in partnership with other organisations for participants to achieve Duke of Edinburgh awards.  For the past five years there has been a partnership between Abernethy Trust, Ardeonaig.  Whilst at the centre and in the Highland Perthshire Countryside they not only work towards completing their awards but also work towards their John Muir Awards. In turn they support local Path groups, Bloom groups and help to complete the councils forest plans.

To get a flavour of their experience in their own words…..

“During our DofE Gold Residential camp that took place over the course of five days, we helped Jeannie Grant, PKC Community Greenspace Ranger, with two days of conservation volunteering to help out the Rannoch Path Group.

On the first day in Kinloch Rannoch we helped to brighten up some of the areas in the village, planting daffodil bulbs on the grassy bank by the village hall and at the War Memorial, to flower next spring. We also helped to clear the public footpath on the site of the old public toilets by the bridge. This involved cutting off the dead branches from the oak tree, improving the fence by adding some new fence posts and clearing moss from the footpath and steps. We used specialist tools, including a flat mallet, pole saw, bow saw, loppers and various other tools.

On the second day, we took part in maintaining the footpath to MacGregor’s Cave. We had the chance to use tree poppers as well as other tools from the previous day. We saw some amazing views along the way and explored MacGregor’s Cave at the end.

As a reward for our voluntary conservation work, Jeannie very kindly brought Kelly Kettles for us to prepare hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows. Using natural resources such as lichen, twigs and dried grass, we learned how to make small, contained fires to fuel the kettles.

Throughout the whole experience, working with people we previously didn’t know, we were able to gain valuable skills which we will be able to use in the future. At the start of our residential we all aimed to put something back into the local community and all feel as if we have achieved this. The overall experience has been very rewarding because of the long-term difference we have helped to make in the local area.

We would like to thank Jeannie Grant and the leaders at the Abernethy Ardeonaig Centre for an incredible camp that we won’t forget and for an excellent opportunity.”

Abernethy Ardeonaig DofE Gold Residential Camp

Environment & Conservation Team October 2017

If you have a group that would benefit form partnership work to help participants to complete Duke of Edinburgh please do contact the Communities team by emailing communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk or phoning 01738 475000 and asking to speak to Community Greenspace Communities Team.



No slowing down for BRAN!

As Autumn takes over and the growing season is slowing down . Bran are still hard at it with Ally Donald out on three evenings strimming  Kirklands Path and Cargill’s Way.

BRAN had another party out on Saturday 30th, once again tidying up areas of Davie Park and particularly the Loon Braes. This was very much a follow on from the work done two weeks previously. Davie Park was litter picked and areas around the seats on Loon Braes were cut back to provide views of the pond etc.

On this occasion four volunteers carried out the work, Bob Ellis, David Stanghon, Ally Donald and Ian Richards. The group noted that many of the other seats had views of the park and the pond completely obscured by bushes and trees. Too much work on the day but the group will tackle the issue over the winter and into next season.
BRAN is always happy to welcome new recruits; the work is usually varied and people of all abilities are able to do their bit in helping to keep our paths in good order. Please contact the secretary if interested in joining. ian_richards2007@yahoo.com, 01250 871122, 07787 317022

BRAN 30 (3)
Photo- Bran member’s enjoying the view after clearing the area on the Loon Braes!

June in the Coupar Angus Community Gardens

June has been a huge month for growing and other activities down in the gardens – We’ve had some very busy Wednesday night volunteer sessions, started our Sunday nights “bring and shares” and have hosted several skill-shares in the gardens, with new people coming to learn bush-craft, painting and soon to come – making things with pallets!

All Skill-shares offered for FREE of charge!

As schools break up next week – we also hope to see plenty of kids and families down at the gardens and have lots of events where they are invited to join! Not least our family fun art day on the 13th August – where we will have a fun, messy, arty, outdoorsy afternoon planned with local artists Cat and Wayne.

But the cream on the cake this month, has to have been our new community shop, which has opened at number 2 High Street, (the old Meg’s Cafe).  This shop is a wonderful outlet for our excess garden produce and a brilliant place to find local, seasonal veg at a low price, while also show casing some wonderful artwork for local crafts people.   We hope to see you there!

We welcome all people of Coupar Angus into the community gardens – they are a lovely place to stop for a rest when out walking, exploring or adventuring with the children and we believe they are a vital part of Coupar Angus’s commitment to a lower carbon future and food independence in our region.

Come and Join us on Saturday 13th August for some FREE Family Art Fun at the Caddam Road, Community Garden with local artists Cat and Wayne. We will be painting a large colourful “Save the Planet” mural for the garden site, creating some eco banners/flags, painting some slate pictures to take home and generally having some messy eco themed fun. Children should be accompanied by parents or guardians and come in messy, “doesn’t matter if they get dirty clothes”.  Event starts at 1pm till 4pm.  To book please text 07833938536

Dates for you diary at the Caddam Road Community Garden.

The next free Skill-Share event will be “Pallets, Making & Breaking” Thursday 14th July 3pm – 5pm

Free Skill-Share event “Spindle Spinning” Thursday 28th July 3pm – 5pm

Free Skill-Share event “Learning to Dye Wool with Plants” Friday 26th August 5pm – 7pm

Free Skill-Share event “Introduction to Permaculture” Saturday 13th August 10am – 1pm, (Nether Larghan, Coupar Angus)

JOIN US FOR “Bring and Share Sundays” 3pm – 7pm Sunday 31st July

For more information contact Sharon on 07833938536