Tag Archives: training

Hot day for spraying!

 

These past two weeks have been very busy for our volunteers that have been trained to spray Giant Hogweed near the River Bollin in order to control it.  If you remember (or if not, have a look through our previous posts), 11 volunteers were NPTC trained for their PA6AW certificates, which enables the certificate holder to use herbicides near water.  On 10th and 15th May this training was put into practice!

On 10th May we met at the Green Dragon pub in Lymm who kindly let us use their car park as a rendezvous point, and kitted up to go out and treat the Giant Hogweed in the fields adjacent to the pub, and also those that were affecting the fish pass near Heatley Mill.  The giant hogweed here has been found in abundance over the past few years, and as a project we have not had the resource to deal with giant hogweed in this area before now.  Thanks to our newly trained volunteers we have been able to make great headway here in only one day.  Ten volunteers and five Environment Agency staff came along to help out, and everyone spent the whole day working.  You can see on the map below the area we covered, and some photos showing the extent of the problem.

Giant Hogweed spraying lymm BEACONGiant Hogweed spraying lymm BEACON

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giant Hogweed spraying lymm BEACON

Area covered shown in red on map

On 15th May we focused our efforts on controlling Giant Hogweed in Hale where BEACON has worked with other volunteers and contractors in the past to spray the field, woodland and footpath areas here.  On this VERY hot day, four volunteers turned out and again did a good days work.  Access here was much more difficult as was access to water (but we managed!) and everyone did a sterling job to control the hogweed in the field area in the heat.

Giant Hogweed spraying HaleGiant Hogweed spraying Hale

 

 

 

 

 

 

Area covered shown in red

This is all very important work as it links in with the work other landowners, interest groups and local organisations are doing to control Giant Hogweed on their land upstream of these areas.  Huge thanks to all the volunteers who work tirelessly to control invasive non-native species, and also to the Environment Agency for providing funding to facilitate the training they needed.

If you are a landowner and would like to get involved in the Giant Hogweed control programme for this year please contact us here.

You can find out more about Giant Hogweed, what it does, how to identify and control it here.

Giant Hogweed better watch out!

Over the course of this past week and a half, we have seen 11 volunteers from various organisations and backgrounds undergo certified training to enable them to safely use herbicides near water.  The fantastic news is that they all passed the training, which brings us to 26 volunteers now trained and able to use herbicides near water to control invasive non-native plant species.

This greatly increases the capacity of the BEACON project as there is only one Project Officer employed as part of the project, so if an area is being monitored and treated by volunteers, the Project Officer can move on and work downstream elsewhere.  This has worked brilliantly over the past years, and we hope with 11 newly trained volunteers this way of working can continue.  NPTC Training BEACON EA

This season our efforts will be focused on controlling Giant Hogweed at Dunham, Lymm and Heatley where is has been allowed to grow unchecked for many years.  You can find out more about Giant Hogweed and the affects it has on people and wildlife here.

Thank you to the Environment Agency for funding this brilliant opportunity for our volunteers, for rangers at Macclesfield Riverside Park for giving up their Visitor Centre for over a week, and of course thanks must go to the volunteers for dedicating their time to do this course, and in the future to controlling invasive non-native species.

NPTC Training BEACON EA

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.

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

Co-Op Local Community Fund


BEACON is very pleased to have been chosen as one of the Co-op’s Local Community Fund causes for the next six months.  During this time, Co-op members can choose which of their local causes to support, and obviously we hope that you will support BEACON.

Every time Co-op members buy Co‑op branded products and services, from buying a loaf of bread to planning a funeral, 1% of their spend goes to a local cause.  For the six months that BEACON is part of the fund, the money builds up. Throughout the six months, members can choose which cause their contribution goes to.

BEACON is slowly building up its fund, which will be used to support the work of our River Rangers, and extend this scheme into other areas of the Bollin catchment.  We will be able to use the funds to train up volunteers, provide equipment to carry out simple water tests, speak to landowners about land management where there are problems identified, and also provide some Project Officer support.

To find out more about this, and to select BEACON as your Co-op local cause please click the link here

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!!   

Volunteer Surveyors Workshop – 11th December 2014

RDWP Training Attendees PhotoAs you may already know, BEACON has been granted Catchment Wise funding to support a project that focuses on the water quality of Birkin, Mobberley, Marthall and Sugar Brooks, in the western end of the Bollin catchment.   As part of this project, BEACON volunteers will carry out walkover surveys along the corridors of these brooks, to try and find out what the major causes of rural diffuse pollution are here.

Three training events have been held since the project started in October. One was held on Halloween to train volunteers to carry out walkover surveys and record incidents of diffuse pollution (you can read more about this training below). The training was recently repeated on 11th December and run by Sally Potts, BEACON Project Officer. The day was less than kind, being cold and very wet, and so everyone was glad of the morning indoor session. Here volunteers learned about what diffuse pollution is, what causes it and the techniques used during a walkover to identify and record it. After a wonderful lunch, locally produced by Earlams Café in Styal, all the volunteers went to the Carrs in Wilmslow to put their new found walkover and recording skills to the test.

The Carrs Riverside Nine volunteers attended and practised their survey skills along the River Bollin. Everyone found the training informative and useful. One volunteer commented on Facebook: ‘It was a great day and an excellent presentation by you Sally. Thanks for hosting it’. A short refresher training session is being held in Bowdon for all volunteers in the New Year.

BEACON has now trained 27 volunteers carry out these walkover surveys, and so we are expecting results to start being submitted in the next few months.

For more information or to get involved in this survey project please contact Sally Potts, Project Officer, on 07825 115 303 or sally.potts@nationaltrust.org.uk

Catchment Walkover Tool

Walkover Tool Training

On 26th November a training session was held as part of BEACON’s Catchment Wise Diffuse Water Pollution Project.  This session was run by the Environment Agency to train volunteers on how to digitise the data we will be collecting from the walkover surveys being carried out along Mobberley, Birkin and Sugar Brooks. 

The Environment Agency use a database called the Catchment Walkover Tool to collect walkover survey data in a standardised format, and then this database is used to create interactive maps and educational resources to illustrate the survey results. 

The volunteers really enjoyed the day, and we all learned some new IT skills as well as more about data input and sharing.  We just need to make sure we hire a warmer venue next time!

This Diffuse Water Pollution Project is not just a data collection exercise, as BEACON wants to achieve much more than this.  By the end of the year we will have trained approximatley 30 volunteers to input data and survey for Diffuse Water Pollution, providing these volunteers with skills and knowledge in areas of ecology, water quality, IT and science that they did not have before. 

We will also be using maps made from the Walkover Tool to educate and engage people on their land management practises and signpost them to other places where they can get help, advice and even funding. 

The next training session being held as part of this project is shown on the events page.  If you would like to get involved please contact us using this form.

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