Tag Archives: Volunteers

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 

Tree Planting on the Carrs

Woodland Trust Trees Friends of the CarrsOn Thursday 12th March, which turned out to be a bright and fairly warm morning for a change, four volunteers from BEACON, Bollin Valley Partnership and Friends of the Carrs planted 100 tree saplings.

The trees were awarded to the Friends of the Carrs by the Woodland Trust, who had 4,500 tree packs to give away last autumn to school and community groups.  Friends of the Carrs applied for, and were successfully granted 100 saplings as part of the ‘Wild Harvest Pack’.  The species in this pack included, Hazel, Blackthorn, Crab Apple, Dog Rose and Elder, and the pack was delivered in early March.

 

Friends of the Carrs Tree Planting

The trees were mainly planted along Styal Road, adjacent to the car park at Twinnies Bridge.  This is because the Friends of the Carrs have been working hard to establish a hedgerow here for some time and it was good to add to the planting that had already been done in this location.  A hedgerow here will not only provide excellent feeding and nesting habitat for small birds, but also screen off the busy road.  The trees, all native broadleaved species, will grow into a flourishing hedgerow in as little as 10 years.

Tree Planting Friends of the Carrs

The remaining trees were planted in the old tennis court and bowling green area, which has recently been cleared by Cheshire East Council.  These were mainly Crab Apple and Elder, which will provide interest for people visiting the Carrs as well as blossom for insects and fruit for birds.

The UK has just 13% woodland cover compared to a European average of 44%, and the trees we do have are under increasing threat from diseases and development. By teaming up with communities like Friends of the Carrs, the Woodland Trust hopes that the UK can double its native woodland cover and enrich the landscape for generations to come.

 

Friends of the Carrs - Tree planting volunteers

Trees with guards - friends of the carrs

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’!

 

Decapitating Giant Hogweed

Return_Of_The_Giant_Hogweed_by_HappyRussiaWork has been done to control the Giant Hogweed along the Bollin by contractors, landowners, volunteers, BEACON and United Utilities staff.  We have started to work from the upstream end of the problem at Bankhall Lane in Hale, and have made our way down as far as Bowdon Sewage Treatment Works. 

praying Giant Hogweed Bowdon

 

 

Most of the Giant Hogweed has been sprayed using a herbicide, and some dug up where the plants have not yet reached maturity.

 

 

 

 

 

However, not all of the Giant Hogweed plants can be treated as there are just too many for us to tackle.  So, one way to prevent the plants spreading is to ‘decapitate’ them, or chop off the flowering head.  To do this you need PPE to stop the Giant Hogweed sap burning your skin, and you need to get the Giant Hogweed at this time of year before the seeds ripen.

Two National Trust volunteers and a member of UU staff, helped out last week on a blisteringly hot day to contol the Giant Hogweed at Bowdon.

Giant Hogweed Decapitating 1

Giant Hogweed Decapitating 2

 

You can see here the enormity of the task ahead of us.  Below is a bit of a before, during and after shot of the Giant Hogweed and its demise!

 

 

 

Giant Hogweed Decapitating Before

BEFORE

iant Hogweed Decapitating During

DURING

Giant Hogweed Decapitating After

AFTER

Thanks to the work of the volunteers and staff at United Utilities all the Giant Hogweed in the vicinity of the Sewage Treatment works at Bowdon was ‘decapitated’, which will help them and members of the Freinds of Bowdon Bollin in thier control work next year.

Giant Hogweed Decapitating Volunteers