Category Archives: Events

Volunteer Surveyors Workshop – 31st October 2014

BEACON and APEM RDWP Training

(c) Derek Hatton

A Volunteer Surveyors Workshop was held at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, co-hosted by APEM and BEACON, on 31st October 2014.

There were indoor presentations given, and outdoor practical field visits and demonstrations held along the River Bollin at Styal and the Carrs.

There were 17 attendees on the day, with people from all backgrounds, with differing levels of knowledge attending.  There was also a great range of ages and interests too.

The purpose of the day was to train volunteers to conduct surveys for diffuse water pollution in rural areas.  BEACON has been fortunate enough to gain funding through the United Utilities Catchment Wise Fund to be able to conduct these surveys along Birkin, Rostherne, Sugar and Mobberley Brooks to determine where there are pollution problems.  BEACON also aims to raise awareness of these problems with farmers and landowners, in order to change attitudes and behaviours to improve the health of the brooks and connecting river.

RDWP Survey Training - 31-10-14

(c) Derek Hatton

All the volunteers that attended the workshop enjoyed the day.  The morning was spent indoors with Peter Dennis of APEM going over what diffuse pollution is, the problems it causes, what to look for and how to record this.

After a quick lunch, the afternoon was spent outside walking along the River Bollin at Styal and on into the Carrs at Wilmslow.  The volunteers practised looking for signs to show where there were problems, such as pipes, discouloured water and erosion of the riverbank.  They also practised recording thier findings and photgraphing these.

RDWP Survey Training - 31-10-14

(c) Derek Hatton

Diffuse pollution is the release of pollutants from a range of activities that individually may have no effect on the water environment, but at the scale of a catchment, such as the Bollin, can have a significant impact  on the water environment.  It can result in a reduction of water quality, a decrease in wildlife, riverbank erosion and so on.

Diffuse sources of pollution include run-off of chemicals, soil, tarmac from roads, houses and commercial areas.  BEACON is mainly surveying for diffuse pollution in rural areas so we will be looking at run-off from farmland, and land use activities such as livestock grazing, cultivation of land to grow crops and forestry operations.

All the volunteers really enjoyed the day and are looking forward to getting out onto the catchment and surveying.

RDWP Survey Training  - 31-11-14

(c) Derek Hatton

Farm Workshop – 1st October 2014

BEACON and Natural England Farm Workshop

© Andy Penton – Environment Agency

Last week, BEACON and Natural England got together to host a Farm Workshop at Egerton Hall, Rostherne.  This workshop aimed to provide farmers with more information on the control of invasive non-native species, as well as water friendly farming and agri-environment schemes.  There were elements of indoor presentations and outdoor practical field visits and demonstrations held adjacent to Rostherne Mere.

Farm Workshop Rostherne

© Andy Penton – Environment Agency

In the morning, the attendees went out to Rostherne Mere to look at practical demonstrations of how to control invasive species.  The group discussed how each control method works, and also non-chemical ways to control invasive non-native species.  Rupert, the Ranger at Rostherne Mere demonstrated their quad mounted spraying equipment, and Sally from BEACON showed the group how the stem injector works. 

Farm Workshop - Stem Injector

© Andy Penton – Environment Agency

 

Farm Workshop - Quad mounted sprayer

© Andy Penton – Environment Agency

Following lunch a short presentation was given to farmers on the effects of pollution on rivers and the different sources it can come from.  Everyone was very surprised about the polluting effects of milk!  There was lots of discussion and advice given on how to make sure your farm is working in a water friendly way.

There was another outdoor session in the afternoon to visit the areas of Rostherne Mere that aren’t publically accessible.  It was great to be able to go to places that are ordinarily closed, and Rupert gave a fantastic talk on what the issues are with managing the Mere and how he addresses these.  Himalayan balsam in the reed beds was a great cause for discussion.

Farm Workshop - Field Visit

In the feedback we got from the farmers they all enjoyed the day.  They found it useful to have different organisations there and see practical demonstrations given.  Everyone felt they had learned something they could apply to their work at home, which is a hugely positive outcome for BEACON, Natural England and most importantly the natural environment.

Dig the City Manchester

At the start of August BEACON had a stand at Dig the City in Manchester.  Dig the City in Manchester is an annual gardening festival where visitors can view show gardens, attend talks and workshops and children can make mud pies and plant seeds.  The event was really well attended and everyone enjoyed themselves.

 BEACON Dig the City Stand

BEACON had a stand at the event to spread the word to budding and experienced gardeners alike about the dangers of invasive non-native species, many of which started out as garden ornamental plants.  We had displays of garden plants that are known to be invasive, such as Crocosmia spp., Buddleja and Snowberry.

BEACON bee balsam BEACON also had examples of the better-known Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed at the stand to make more people aware of BEACON’s main work.  Even though the weather was poor, the city bees were still able to find the nectar in the Himlayan balsam on display.

 

Children made alien masks and played alien invader games to illustrate the point about invasive species being like aliens that are in the wrong place.   

 

It is hoped that BEACON will be able to attend this event next year to carry on spreading the word…not invasives 🙂

For more information on Dig the City please click here

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Avro Golf Club Balsam Bash – 19th July 2014

Balsam Bashing Avro Golf Club Woodford

A group of 18 volunteers met up at Avro Golf Club, in Woodford, on a very wet and overcast morning last Saturday.

We met at the Club House and went over the plan for the day before heading out.  The plan was to control as much Himalayan Balsam as we possibly could in a woodland that borders the golf club, and is causing problems for the green keepers and players as the spreads its seeds onto the course.  There really is no shortage of the stuff round here with the balsam over 8′ tall in some places!

Not to be deterred by the bad weather the group got stuck in after a short walk along the river to get to the woodland. 

Balsam Bashing Avro Golf Club Woodford 6

 

Balsam Bashing Avro Golf Club Woodford With both BEACON volunteers and golf club staff and members getting involved we were able to make a great dent in the balsam that we found in the woodland.  Some volunteers concentrated on creating a ‘fire break’; clearing the balsam on the borders between the woodland and the gold course, and thus stopping the spread onto the golf greens.

Everyone was really ethusiastic despite the terrible rain that soaked everyone, and the volunteers ranged in age from 3 to 86! 

Balsam Bashing Avro Golf Club Woodford 3

 

 

 

 

Balsam Bashing Avro Golf Club Woodford 2Everyone was made to feel welcome by the golf club, and both lots of volunteers (young and old), got on like a house on fire by the end of the day.

 

 

After a thorough soaking we were all really grateful for the tea, sandwiches and cake provided by the golf club, and some of the men enjoyed a pint from the bar!

We will repeat this event next year (hoping for some sunshine next time), so keep lookng out on the BEACON events pages for more information.