Tag Archives: BEACON

River Guardian Training Workshop

River Guardian Workshop

On Tuesday 16th January BEACON held a workshop to train new River Guardians as part of our Call of Nature Project.

This free workshop was held in Marthall Hall in Ollerton, and a wide variety of people from different backgrounds and organisations attended.

The morning session was spent indoors explaining why BEACON has River Guardians, and how they play a very important role in our Call of Nature Project.  As part of the Call of Nature Project, River Guardians will be taking water samples from points along Marthall and Pedley Brooks.  This will enable us to see whether the engagement work we have done around septic tanks has been successful.  We hope that by giving local householders information, resources and support, septic tanks will be better used and maintained, thus resulting in an improvement in water quality.

BEACON River Guardians

The afternoon was a little chilly and wet, but still spent outside the classroom practicing taking water samples, and recording the results found.  This more informal part of the training was a great chance for volunteers to mingle, and ask questions about the practicalities of these surveys.

 

BEACON River Guardians

The day was a great success with 11 new Guardians trained, which brings the total number of River Guardians to 42.  That’s 42 people working across the Bollin Catchment, testing various tributaries and rivers for pollution.  The volunteers enjoyed gaining an ‘insight into exactly why we are doing the job and the long term benefits to the environment.’ and also ‘doing the practical exercise to understand exactly what we have to do and how long it takes. The breaks were also useful to speak to other participants and browse the maps and the other materials available.’

 

Thank you to all our River Guardians who give up their time to take water samples and send in their results.  This information is invaluable and wonderful to have.

BEACON River GuardiansBEACON River Guardians

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on the Call of Nature Project run in the North West please visit their website here.

This project is being delivered through the Mersey Rivers Trust, and is funded by the Environment Agency.

You can find more information on River Guardians here.

Restore, Rewild, Realise

Postcode Local TrustBEACON has been successfully awarded a £20,000 grant from the Postcode Local Trust to carry out a habitat restoration project called ‘Restore, Rewild, Realise’.

BEACON will use this grant to ‘Restore’ river banks using natural materials such as willow and hazel hurdles.  Habitats where invasive species have been controlled, but where local flora has been unable to re-establish successfully will be planted up with native wildflowers, plants and trees.  By doing this we will stem the re-growth of invasives and give the natives a competitive advantage, and is the ‘Rewild’ part of the project.  We hope that local volunteers and schools will be involved in restoring habitats and seeing wildlife thrive in restored areas.

Riverbank Restoration Avro Golf Club

The main event as part of this project will be a Bioblitz, held in the summer to educate local children and adults on species identification, habitats, control of invasive species.  By conducting simple nature surveys at this event, they will learn how to record and identify species, and ‘Realise’ the importance of local, native habitats.

This project will take place throughout the course of 2018, and as well as benefitting native   species and habitats, it will also benefit volunteers by providing them with conservation skills and knowledge they may not have previously had.  Schools will also benefit from environmental education workshops being run as part of this project.

The Carrs Ian and Sal black poplar planting

BEACON is extremely thankful to the Postcode Local Trust for awarding us this grant.  Sally Potts, BEACON Project Officer said, ‘BEACON has been financially unable to undertake substantive habitat restoration works, and this will enable us to further progress our work, and build on the success of previous years’.

For more information or to get involved in Restore, Rewild, Realise, please contact us here.

Environment Education Workshops BEACON

Postcode Local Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. www.postcodelocaltrust.org.uk

To find out how to play, and thus support more charities please visit http://www.postcodelottery.co.uk

 

Tesco Bags of Help

BEACON is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores – being awarded to local community projects.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

BEACON’s ‘Love Your River Bollin’ is one of the groups on the shortlist.BEACON River Guardian Training

Any money raised will support BEACON to engage with more local people across the Bollin catchment, to raise awareness of value their local river, which will then foster a greater appreciation for it. We aim to highlight the impact people have on the water environment in a positive way to inspire people to change their behavior, and become guardians of their local river. We also aim to train more River Guardian volunteers to monitor water quality at their own ‘Adopt-A-Spot’ location along a stretch of the River Bollin or one of its tributaries.

Voting is open in all Tesco stores throughout September and October. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £33 million to more than 6,400 projects up and down the UK.

To vote for  ‘Love Your River Bollin’, shop in one of the stores listed below and ask for a token at the checkout. Make sure to put your token in the ‘Love Your River Bollin’ box!

BRAMHALL     SK7 1JR
ALDERLEY RD SK9 1LH
HANDFORTH SK9 3PA
DEAN ROW RD SK9 2TA
WILMSLOW RD SK9 3HQ
ALDERLEY EDGE SK9 7JT

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

River Guardian Training Workshop

 

BEACON River Guardian TrainingBEACON held a fantastic River Guardian workshop on 25th January at Marthall Hall.  There were over 30 volunteers who attended the day-long workshop, which was a mixture of indoor desktop training, and then outdoor practical learning.

The aim of the workshop was to train volunteers, who have come from all backgrounds and levels of experience, to be able to safely take  water samples from local watercourses, and test the samples there and then using simple test kits.  These kits test phosphate and nitrate levels, pH and temperature of the water.  Volunteers then record this information and send the results to BEACON where we can analyse this information and see where problem areas are.

The day was kicked off by Terry Dudley, of the Birkin Fly Fishers, who explained the work that has previously been done by the anglers, and also students from Manchester University who took and tested water samples from various points along Birkin and Mobberley Brooks.  There is therefore already a good deal of baseline data for us to work with.

BEACON River Guardian TrainingCaroline Riley, from Healthy Rivers Trust, then spoke to the group about the importance of water quality testing, what we use the information for and how to carry out the tests themselves.  Caroline gave a practical demonstration of the equipment and test kits, and also answered questions.  Anna Gilchrist of Manchester University was also on hand to answer any tricky questions the volunteers had!

After lunch the group walked from Marthall Hall to Pedley Brook where they were all able to practice carrying out the water tests and how to accurately record the information.  A quick kick-sample was also carried out and a stickleback was found in the bottom of the brook!  The tests carried out on the brook showed low levels of both phosphate and nitrate too.

BEACON River Guardian Training

 

 

 

BEACON River Guardian Training

On returning to the Hall volunteers were encouraged to ‘Adopt and Spot’, to take and test water samples from on a regular basis, and equipment and test kits were handed out.

The day was a huge success with positive feedback received from the attendees.  People from over ten different partner organisations attending the training, as well as individual interested volunteers.  The volunteers have now ‘adopted’ 25 spots along Mobberley, Birkin and Sugar Brooks as well as along the Rivers Dean and Bollin.

BEACON River Guardian Training

If you would like to find out more about the River Guardian project, or become a River Guardian yourself please contact us here.BEACON River Guardian Training

 

River Guardian Training Workshop

 

The Ruploading-resultsiver Guardian training session being held on Wednesday 25th January is now fully booked.

If you are still interested in attending River Guardian training, please contact us here and if there is enough uptake we will be running another date.  You can find information on what the training entails here.

Thanks everyone for your support!!   

Partnership working bashes balsam!

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

Picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

As the saying goes, ‘many hands make light work’, and this is definitely the case for anything BEACON hopes to achieve in the Bollin Catchment.  By working in partnership with other organisations, landowners and local communities we can bring together those many hands to work towards one common aim; improving our water courses and local environment for everyone to enjoy.

 

On a 6th July the Environment Agency and Bollin Valley Partnership teamed up to carry out a huge balsam bash on land owned and managed by the National Trust at Styal.  There was a really good team of 20 volunteers from the Environment Agency, made up from a number of different departments.  The weather was kind to the team and it didn’t rain for the whole event, which always makes a difference to the mood!

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

 

 

 

 

 

 

A large section of riverbank and southern woods was cleared of balsam, which complemented work done last year with a much smaller Environment Agency  team.  The National Trust were delighted with the work done as they have not had the resources to host large groups pulling balsam this year.  Huge thanks to Rachel Argyros, EA, and Emma Houghton, BVP for organising this balsam bash.

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both the Bollin Valley Partnership and Environment Agency would like to run this event again next year, with even more volunteers so we can really get to grips with the balsam in this area. A great example of partnership working!

 

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

Avro Golf Club Balsam Bash

Avro Golf Club Woodford Balsam Bash DeanClub members and volunteers had a fantastic balsam bash on 2nd July, in some slightly changeable weather where sunscreen and wellies were needed, all in one morning!  There were 16 volunteers in all, including three children who contributed over 40 volunteer hours in total.

 

 

 

 

Although there is a still a lot of balsam found in the nearby Dairyhouse Wood, the volume of balsam in some areas of the woodland has really decreased thanks to consistent control work in these areas year on year.  Now these small areas are under control, the golf club and its volunteers can look to begin work in other areas of the woodland.

Avro Golf Club Woodford Balsam Bash Dean

Avro Golf Club Balsam Bash Bollin Stockport Woodford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The working party on Saturday did just that, and were rewarded with lots of sandwiches and fruit pies in the Clubhouse afterwards.  Thank you to everyone that took part in the bash and contributed to keeping the River Dean free of invasive species.  At least you won’t be winning the wooden spoon for ‘Wettest Balsam Bash’ this year!

For more information on upcoming balsam bashes can be found here.

Balsam Bash Avro Golf Club

Balsam Bash Avro Golf Club

Goodbye…but not quite!

P1040396

So, today is my last day in the paid BEACON Project Officer post. This post has ended due to a lack of funding, something that has troubled the BEACON Project for some time now.

Whilst it has been very sad to be closing down the project, it has been great to go over old files and photos and remember all the fantastic work that has been done as part of this project. Volunteers have been integral to this work and I am hugely grateful for all the input everyone has had over the years, be it with invasive species or diffuse water pollution. There has been over 7,000 volunteer hours contributed during the project lifetime, and over 2,400 volunteers involved ranging from 3 years to 90 years old. Without all your hard work the BEACON Project would not be as well-known and well-regarded as it is today.

BEACON Bollin RDWP Walkover SurveyI will be volunteering one day a week to maintain the project’s presence going as there are options to resume BEACON that will be explored fully in June. So, you can still get hold of me here or email sally.potts@nationaltrust.org.uk

There are also lots of resources now available on this website which may help answer any questions you may have, and local groups are still hosting balsam bashing events too, the details of which can also be found in the events section of the BEACON website here.

Thank you everyone for all you have contributed to caring for our little patch of the Bollin, and I look forward to what the future holds for BEACON.

All the very best.

IMG_1228 

Balsam Bash- BEACON

Balsam bashing is clearing Himalayan Balsam, an invasive plant species, by pulling it up by hand.   You can find out more about balsam bashing here.  It’s dead easy to do so anyone can get involved and no experience necessary! Please wear suitable outdoor clothing and bring some gloves with you, water and suncreen if required.  Book onto the event using the contact details below.

Volunteer Thank You Event – 22nd Jauary 2015

BEACON Volunteer Thank You Event

A Volunteer Thank You Event was held at Mathall Hall, Chelford in January to thank all the BEACON volunteers for their hard work and support over the year.  This is the second Thank You Event that BEACON has held, and was as succeesful and well-received as the first.

Sally Potts, BEACON Project Officer, gave a presentation about the work that BEACON has done over the past year, and the achievements of its staff and volunteers.  This presentation was interspersed by four volunteers from KRIV, Avro Golf Club, Birkin Fly Fishers and the designer of this very website (thanks Ade 🙂 )  who gave their account of how they got involved with BEACON over the past year, and what they do to support the project.

BEACON Volunter Thank You Event Presentation

There were displays in the hall showing statistics of how many km of balsam pulled, how many volunteer hours contributed etc, and large maps of the catchment for people to view.  It was good to be able to see these statistics in a graphical way, as it really illustrates the impact BEACON has had over the year.

There were 25 volunteers that attended the evening with a good mixture of partner organisations and volunteers amongst the attendees.

 

 

BEACON Volunteer Thank You Awards- golden spoons

There was also a light-hearted awards section at the end of the evening where golden spoons were presented to organisations for categories such as the ‘Best Sprayer’ or ‘Wettest Balsam Bash’. These awards were well received.

 

 

BEACON Volunteer Thank You Awards- Avro Golf Club

Vic Tarr accepting Avro Golf Club’s awards for ‘Wettest Balsam Bash’ held on July 19th…the earlier post and photos about this bash speak for themselves!

BEACON Volunteer Thank You Awards - Best Dressed

Rosie Fisher accepting her award for ‘Best Dressed’ for working all day in full protective gear during one of the hottest days of the summer when decapitating Giant Hogweed

No formal feedback was received via the feedback cards, but the following are excerpts from emails sent after the Thank You Event:

 

 

 

 

 

‘Thank you for last night, it was great to see other aspects of Beacon’s work’

‘Well done for everything last night – the format of how you talk interspersed with others talking is really good!’

‘What a brilliant meeting that was yesterday.  The way you interspersed your talk with the pieces from the volunteers was so good……. and the golden spoons with their pictures are a lovely idea.’

‘Well done for your event last week – I thought the presentations were fascinating; and was as always impressed with your organisation and promotion of the event.’

And it is just down to BEACON to say thank you to all our volunteers for your help and support over the last year, and may it continue for 2015.  We really couldn’t do it without you!

Thank You Awards - Best Basher

Jaya with her award for ‘Best Balsam Basher’. She bashed balsam all day at age 3, on the bash that was awarded the ‘Wettest Balsam Bash’!