Right, now let's get on with this week's session....
While we were meeting up, prior to tackling the job, a lone voice was heard to mutter "What the heck are we all doing here...?" (or something similar to that...). When it is a damp morning, with a cold northerly wind blowing, I imagine we have all asked ourselves exactly that question. But, even when the weather is at it's worse, we still keep coming back for more...
Due to something of a mental aberration, Nick the Ranger wasn't there to greet us for this session but Mark soon got work underway. We were to "process" the pre cut trees and shrubs that were piled along the edges of the reeded area of the old mill pond, lifting them up to the dry areas along the banks. The photographs will show this far better than I can describe it. It can be seen that a good 3 metre strip was opened up along the edge which should allow the reeds to grow there, once again. Unfortunately we experienced a wintery shower towards the end of the session but an amazing amount of clearing was achieved so well done to all those who attended.
Carrie's Nature Natter.
This week’s find is a member of the Cladonia (reindeer lichen) genus called Cladonia Rangiferina. It is whitish-grey in colour, grows in low, bushy clumps, and its common name “reindeer moss” is a bit of a misnomer, as it is a species of lichen. The name arose because many members of this genus comprise a major part of the diet of reindeer during winter, although the specific name of this species “mediterranean” suggests it does not occur in areas supporting reindeer, unless of course they are hiding somewhere else in Dicksons Copse!
Lichens actually consist of two different organisms, a fungus and either an alga ( a simple plant) or a cyanobacterium (bacteria that can photosynthesise), which live together symbiotically, forming a composite organism. They are known to be very sensitive to environmental pollution, and have been used as “indicator” species. It can be used in the making of aquavit, as decoration in glass windows, and also as a traditional remedy for the removal of kidney stones by the Monpa people in the alpine regions of the Eastern Himalayas. It is also used a food by crushing the dry plant, boiling or soaking it in hot water until it becomes soft, then mixed with berries, fish eggs or lard. It does, however, need to be well cooked or it can cause stomach upsets.
Many thanks to Sue for her photographs this week and to Carrie for her photographs and Nature Natter.