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Isle of Wight Green Gym - Official Blog.

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IoW GG links

To look at the Isle of Wight Green Gym web page (contains details of sessions etc) please use the following link :- www.iwgreengym.org.uk.

The link to Twitter is https://twitter.com/iwgreengym

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wed 29th Oct 2014 - Millennium Green, Ryde.

Wet GGmers....!


A Job Well Done.


Our venue this week was Millennium Green in Ryde, a site we have visited several times before.  Well the forecast for rain was certainly correct, it absolutely teemed down.  Nevertheless some 14 VERY hardy Green Gymmers turned up, all sensibly attired from head to toe in wetsuits and wellies. There were three tasks for us to tackle, the first being to cut back as low as possible, the vegetation in the meadow to encourage the wildflowers to grow for next season, so we can attract as many insects, butterflies, toads etc as we can.  The working group here split up into those cutting by hand with shears to those raking away the cut vegetation and depositing it in a pile offsite.  The cutting back certainly uncovered a lot of wildlife, so we carefully relocated to safety several spiders, slugs, a shield bug and a toad!  The second task was to clear some invasive weed from the pond, which is having an impact on newts which frequent its water.  We only needed to clear away the weeds in the centre, leaving those around the outside as shelter and hiding places for the pond's inhabitants.  The third task was mostly undertaken by the volunteers who are part of the permanent group who look after this area, who were cutting down ash trees and using the cut pieces to build a dead hedge near the entrance to the site.

Many thanks to Carrie for the photographs and editorial this week.... and a HUGE well done to all those who turned out in the pouring rain...!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wed 22nd Oct 2014 - Pan Mill Meadow, Newport.

Carrie's photographs.





Sue's Photographs.




The Presentation.



(not everyone attending was in these photographs!)


Back to work!



 Completed and ready for next year's growing season.



Mark's Photographs.




 Just some of the 44 GGmers who attended this session!

With the remains of hurricane Gonzalo giving us a "breezy and wet" day on Tuesday, it was a pleasant  surprise  to find our Wednesday's GG session bathed in sunshine. Having assembled in the car park at Matalan (thanks to the staff for letting us be there) it was a short walk along the river to the meadow area. This year's growth had been mechanically flailed prior to our arrival - our task being to rake it all up into neat piles around the periphery of the field. This stops the cuttings rotting down and supplying nutrients to the soil, which encourages the grass and weeds to outgrow the wild flowers. Our previous visits to this site over the years have really started to pay dividends. During the summer months this meadow area is a tranquil space for flowers, insects and animals which is much appreciated by members of the public using the footpath. With the majority of the team gathering the cuttings, others were deployed to give the edges a bit of a trim and to do an extensive litter pick. Talking of litter, during our tea break we were presented with a framed certificate and generous cheque. Mark accepted them from Pat Almond, the area representative from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England in recognition of our litter picking at GG sessions throughout the year. 


Our growing collection of CPRE certificates - well done everyone!

I think a quote from Carrie best sums-up our efforts this week...."gosh didn't we all do well, I don't remember ever finishing the whole field before!"

Many thanks to Sue, Carrie and Mark for the photographs this week..


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wed 15th Oct 2014 - Afton Marsh (South) Freshwater.

Sue's Photographs.










Carrie's Photographs.



Mark's Photographs.


One of the fallen!

The area we cleared - Didn't we do well?

Although a few of us arrived at the GG session very early this week, we found the Ranger already on site with a well established bonfire! Our first task was to drag the piles of pre-cut willow to the fire and get it REALLY going.... Once the backlog was taken care of, it was time to start on the standing growth, cutting it down and on to the fire. Such was the progress, a second fire site was soon needed.With only a slight breeze the fires were soon blazing away, the only problem being the airborne hot embers. These caused many to do the "patting dance" when their clothing, or even worse, HAIR, started giving off that rather worrying smell of something catch fire...!  The other occupational hazard was the boot sucking marsh mud which managed to up-end me (and at least one other - see photograph above), another load of clothing straight into the washing machine on arrival home. Those not wishing to set themselves alight by the fire were well employed raking up the cut reeds which should give the marsh plants a head start next season. This was a very well attended session, so nice to see so many people working together at a worthwhile task. Even the forecasted rain held off, although the wipers were needed on the trip home.

Photographs this week were courtesy of Carrie, Sue and Mark many thanks to them all.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wed 8th Oct 2014 - West Green, Yarmouth.

Sue's Photographs.
The "Choppers".




The "Planters".








Carrie's Photogaphs.


Before.


Work in progress.


After.


Mark's Photographs.






This week the weather decided to play silly games with us. With a shower overhead at 10:00 and further showers forecasted, everyone decided to get kitted out in the wet weather clothing. By 10:15 the clouds cleared and we were all sweating away in extra layers of clothing...! Don't we just love British weather. The session consisted of "chopping and planting" - cutting back the undergrowth and planting trees and shrubs in the exposed areas along the hedge line to the north of the green. Although we have been back to this venue many times, we are still finding areas that benefit from our attention. By the end of the session, all the planting had been completed and the cut undergrowth was in neat piles on the green ready for collection. The attendance numbers were down a little this week, perhaps due to the forecasted rain? Welcome to the new GG members from St George's, hope you enjoyed working with us.

Carrie's Nature Natter.


October is the month of the equinox, the marker that highlights the changing of the seasons, and usually Autumn is in full swing by now, but this year it has seemingly only just begun.  Colour will be spreading through our hedgerows and woodlands, with hazel one of the earliest native species to turn brown.  Horse chestnut leaves have long since taken on their seasonal hues, sometimes looking quite shabby, but are also the first to create a wonderful bronze spectacle in the bright autumn sunshine.  Other trees such as ash show more subtle colours, turning light green and then yellow.  At the opposite extreme is the beech whose fiery orange and bronze leaves provide us with a spectacular show.

Few birds are heard singing in Autumn, although they can be heard calling to each other as they move around in flocks. The exception to this are often robins, whose autumn song has a sad and melancholy sound.  Sometimes a period of warm weather can persuade song and mistle thrushes to start singing from their lofty perches, which is always a welcome sound as winter starts to close in.  Resist the temptation to over tidy your gardens, as seed heads provide homes for insects, including ladybirds, and will also generate lots of seeds.  These can provide food for birds during the coming winter, while fallen leaves and windfall fruit will attract birds and other animals.  If you can find space for log piles in longer grass, these can provide homes for toads and newts from local ponds.

A particular delight this time of year is the arrival of large flocks of winter thrushes moving slowly south – the redwing and fieldfare, as they travel from their breeding grounds in Iceland and Scandinavia.  Redwings are smallish birds with a prominent white eye stripe and bright red flashes under their wings.  Fieldfares are slightly larger, with slate grey rump, red yellowy speckled front and brown wings.  These large flocks seek out berries, such as on the hawthorns, and fruit especially if the ground is frozen, readily moving around Britain and across the north sea, depending on the harshness of the weather in search of food supplies.

Many thanks to Carrie for the Nature Natter and to Sue, Carrie and Mark for the photographs.