Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Frilford Heath Golf Club, 22nd November 2014

The Green Gym headed to Frilford Heath Golf Club for this Saturday's session.  As usual at this site, the main task was the raking and clearing of the Fen.

Once we had negotiated the Fairways of the Golf course with no mishaps, it was down to the Fen with a few quick instructions from site supervisor, Alison as to what needed doing.  The weather was cloudy with the odd shower - one which curtailed our Coffee break and made us get back to work.

Judy our fungi expert in residence collected many different types to show us, and these were in just the area we were working.

We also had some new faces Kate and Erin, who did some sterling work with the raking and clearing the reeds.

The Fen covers about the size of a football pitch and is obviously quite boggy but not quite to the same extent as one of our other regular worksites at Cothill. The first half of the session saw remarkable progress in clearing the reeds and after the revitalising Tea/Coffee break and biscuits we managed to all but complete the task, leaving about a 5th to finish off next time.

It was a hard mornings work so no one objected to us stopping 10 minutes early for Judy to show us the collection of Fungi with the most marvellous names and smells.
-Kevin



















Sunday, November 16, 2014

First Aid Course, 16th November 2014

Six Abingdon Green Gymmers today gave up their Sunday morning to do a First Aid course, run by St John Ambulance. We were joined by David from Abingdon Naturalists Green Team, Wendy from Wallingford Green Gym and Janet from Chipping Norton Green Gym. 

Our trainer, Beth ran a very lively and practical course. We learnt how to assess an unconscious casualty, practised putting each other in the recovery position and each did CPR on dummies. 

The course emphasised dealing with accidents likely to  occur in outdoor work, such as dealing with strains, sprains and eye injuries. We were given useful suggestions for things to add to our first aid kits. We were shown how to use a defibrillator, though I don't think we can afford one of these! 

It was a very interesting and useful morning and we are now qualified for another three years.
-Eleanor


Carolyn assesses unconscious casualty Kevin

Beth shows how to put Kate in the recovery position



Beth shows us how to do CPR

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Barton Fields, 15th November 2014

Today we helped the Barton Field Green Team.  The day started misty, but the sun soon came through and lit up the remaining leaves and berries along the path on the edge of Barton Field.

We split up into groups and tackled various jobs. Along the footpath, David has created open bays amongst the trees to create shelter spots for bees and butterflies. These have to be kept free of snowberry bushes and young self-sown trees and suckering roots.  This also helps the wild flowers to thrive in these places.

The ponds in the reed area needed to have their margins cleared of vegetation.  The ponds are very clear at the moment, and teeming with life.  David decided to install a Kingfisher perch in each pond, and bravely waded in, almost, but not quite over the top of his waders.

Litter, as always, was a task to be tackled.  Several bags were filled and Colin did a great job with his specially adapted garden trolley.
-Ursula


Clearing Snowberries


Snowberries
Study in Red

Tea Break

Wading in

Good Job

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ock Valley Walk, Tesco End, 8th November 2014

Fifteen of us of us assembled in the car park behind Barclays Bank. We put on our boots and wellies and set off undeterred by the intermittent fine drizzle.

Kevin, as leader set out the tasks which included litter-picking along the paths and woodland walks near the River Ock, and also cutting back encroaching branches and brambles to open up spaces for wildflower growth. Previously cut timber logs were sawn or lopped into smaller lengths and stacked to provide wildlife habitats.

A surprisingly large amount of litter was collected including a lot of glass beer bottles and a large beach-ball. Colin had brought his well equipped trolley which proved to be a great asset in transporting the litter.

The weather improved somewhat and we saw the sun for a short while, although it became dull again when coffee time arrived. By the end of coffee it began to drizzle more heavily and it was decided it was time to finish for the day. We finished off by stacking our collected litter at the agreed spot for pick-up by the Vale Environmental vehicle.
-Barry


Dieuke saw these. Orange Ladybirds (Halyzia 16-guttata)?

Eleanor lopping brambles

Surprising where litter gets to – Lesley

Colin always has the right equipment

Carolyn stacking logs

James slashing brambles

At last! Coffee time. Margaret and Kate

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Abbey Fishponds, 1st November 2014

Fourteen Green Gymmers assembled to help at the Abbey Fishponds site, including Victoria, a new recruit, who we hope will become a regular member of the team. Marjorie, the volunteer warden of the site was there with two helpers, plus Lorretta from the Earth Trust, which manages the site.

There were a number of tasks to be done, including cutting back trees from the edge of the reed bed, digging drainage channels and lining them with stones, cutting nettles and scrub back from a small area near the Radley Road entrance, which will be made into a wild flower garden, and litter picking. Colin as you see in the photo, was given the task of clearing grass from the steps leading from the bridge and flattening them down.

The weather was sunny and amazingly mild for the first of November. Bees were still busy among the water mint and we even saw a few red admiral butterflies, which could be a record for November. We enjoyed our tea break sitting on the sunny bank overlooking the stream and the reed bed and then it was back to work on the same tasks with the addition of some wild flower planting.
-Eleanor


Enjoying refreshments in the November sunshine!

Colin working on the steps

Janet and Dieuwke cutting back scrub

Petra tackling a willow branch

Kevin collecting rubble for the drainage channels