Showing posts from January, 2017

Water Testing, Cothill Fen and Parsonage Moor, 30th January 2017

In addition to our winter programme, Abingdon Green Gym was invited to participate in water testing sessions at one of our regular work sites - Cothill Fen, and neighbouring Parsonage Moor.  A number of groups were involved in this operation including  Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust ( BBOWT ), Natural England, Freshwater Habitats Trust and local volunteer groups including Friends of Cothill Fen and ourselves.  Four Green Gymmers (Eleanor, Sally, Adrian and Andrew) attended on a Monday, although the project was set to continue into the Tuesday, under the guidance of Dr Curt Lamberth - an ecological consultant who set up a testing facility on site to analyse samples gathered nearby. The purpose of the testing was to analyse surface and groundwater right across the extent of the fenland, to map nutrient flows into, across and away from the site.  Considerable levels of  dissolved nutrients, most crucially nitrates and phosphates, have been observed in recent times, and these

Jarn Mound and Wild Garden, Boars Hill, 28th January 2017

It was a dry and (relatively) warm start to our session at Jarn Mound and Wild Garden this Saturday.  We were met by Rachel Sanderson from Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT), who own and manage the site.  The first order of the day was to unload a number of holly plants and hawthorn and wild plum tree whips from Rachel's car, along with canes and spiral tree guards.   The tasks of the morning were then outlined to the sixteen green-gymmers and two additional OPT volunteers.  First and foremost, a hedge was to be planted along the Jarn Way road, on the border of the garden.  The planting plan was unveiled, with the holly divided into groups, and the hawthorn and wild plum to be used to infill the gaps between them on the roadside verge.  There were also some spaces in an existing hedge that required planting. A second job which required a team of four volunteers, was to attach a wire mesh to part of the fence that runs parallel with the new hedge.  This was supplied by a local far

Frilford Heath Golf Club, 21st January 2017

This week we returned to Boundary House Fen at Frilford Heath Golf Club.  Earlier in the week, the golf club had been awarded the  Sports Turf Research Institute Golf Environment Award 2017 for the best environmental project on a golf course.  This was an acknowledgement of the recent work of the ground staff.  It was also a significant vindication of our ongoing efforts here; a site we have visited regularly since 2011.  During this time a considerable transformation has occurred, with a large area of the fen having been restored.  A number of key indicator species have observed, thus preserving its Site of Special Scientic Interest (SSSI) status. We met as usual at the main golf club car park before dividing into as few cars as possible for the journey along the road to the groundsman's area.  We were pleased to welcome a new member, Rosie, along for the first time. We were also pleased to find that the gate into the site had been unlocked for us on this occasion unlike on our

Our hard work at Frilford Heath Golf Club acknowledged with an award!

Abingdon Green Gym's hard work over the past six years at Boundary House Fen has been acknowledged with an award.  Frilford Heath Golf Club won a Sports Turf Research Institute Golf Environment Award 2017 for the best environmental project on a golf course – namely the fen restoration work at Boundary House Fen. 50 golf clubs from around Britain were nominated for STRI environmental awards, and there were winners in 3 categories.  From the STRI website: " Frilford Heath Golf Club amazed with their extensive fen restoration works, a result of true determination. Their efforts have seen the return of a number of fen indicator species which haven’t been seen for many years. In partnership with  Natural England , and with the help of  Abingdon Green Gym , the greenkeeping team have worked to enhance this nationally important habitat for the future of the SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest)." The link to the full article can be found  HERE

More from the Marmaladies...

We produced about 60 jars of marmalade in just one day which is a record.  It all got too much for the cat who sought refuge in a basket.  We will be selling them for £2 a jar.  We are hoping that Green Gymmers will buy 5 jars for £10 and either use it for themselves, or sell it on.  Sally will be collecting the money.  Some will be kept back for fun in the car park. -Ursula

Marmalade Making, 18th January 2017

Ursula had bought Seville oranges and other key marmalade ingredients.  The Marmaladies (Ursula, Eleanor, Carolyn, Kate, Lesley, Janet and Sally) met at 9.30 and set about cutting the oranges in half and squeezing them along with the lemons.   We then cut the orange peel into slivers and were careful not to muddle the batches. The juice of the lemons and oranges was collected and we then put that in a preserving pan with the orange peel and boiled it, before adding sugar and boiling again.  The mixture was then left to settle before checking that it had reached setting point, when it was funnelled expertly by Ursula into sterilised jars.  Once cooled, the jars were labelled with Eleanor's beautiful Green Gym marmalade labels.  Over 60 jars were made for the Green Gymmers to sell. -Sally