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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 :-

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Thursday 30 October 2008

Wed 29th Oct 2008 - Mill Copse, Yarmouth.

The week the GG Team were out at Mill Copse, Yarmouth - but this time we didn't have the TV cameras with us! The rangers had been there ahead of us to cut down some of the non-native trees, saving the usable timber for other projects around the Island. Our task was to gather up all the branches etc and burn them - so Nov 5th came early for us this year. It was a wonderful bright day and the fire helped to take the edge off the cool easterly wind. Once again we had an excellent turnout and good progress was made at clearing the forest floor.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

These berries were found near the bird hide and are named Black Bryony. The Latin name is Tamus communis, and it is the only member of the British Yam family. It is common in woodland edges and hedgerows on well drained soils, and its name comes from its fleshy underground roots that are black. The tubers are poisonous unless boiled, it produces small green flowers, and its bright red berries are also poisonous, sometimes fatal. Cattle can become addicted to the plant, sometimes dying as a result.
Many thanks to Carrie and Eddie for the excellent pictures.

Thursday 23 October 2008

Wed 22nd Oct 2008 - Seaview Dell.

This week was another new site for the Green Gym guess what - a pond! This time just round the corner from Seagrove Bay in Seaview at the bottom of Solent View road. The site has been improved over the last few years with the pond being dug out and lined and a new hedge planted around the perimeter.
The local pond warden had made quite a few suggestions about the work required, together with a fairly comprehensive report from Ray at the Footprint Trust.
There was quite a large amount of reed mace in the pond lots of which was removed, bramble and overhanging trees around the edges were cut back and also a large ash removed to allow more light into the area. A superb turnout as always, and as you can see from the before and after pictures, it’s amazing what we can do in a couple of hours.

An interesting find near the site was a fungi called Shaggy Ink Cap, which was in its early stages of growth. This is from the family Coprinaceae known as the ink caps. The shaggy ink cap or lawyer's wig, is a common species, edible when young. As it grows older the cap turns to a black liquid as it starts to decay. The genus takes its name from the common ink cap C. atramentarius, whose ageing caps were formerly used for making ink.
The Credits..! Many thanks to Carrie and Eddie for the photographs and to Carrie for the editorial & "nature lesson". We would also like to thank all the local people who came along to help on the day - especially the kind lady who supplied us with the cakes at teatime...!!!!
PS. The following arrived from Mark, just as the blog was being published......
A truly massive turn out of over 40 people worked with us this week. Many thanks to the community there as we had local residents, pond wardens and Parish Council members joining our numbers of regular volunteers. We were clearing some of the Reedmace which had been particularly successful there. We removed or cut back around 50% of the vegetation leaving plenty for cover and for regeneration. We also left the Bulrush and Pendulous Sedge which were much less abundant. Around the rest of the site we cleared back some of the brambles and felled an Ash tree both actions have gone a long way to open up the site. In addition we moved a small tree which had been planted in the memory of Roy Henley of the Seaview Garden Society, this was done to save the tree as it was in a very poorly state under the canopy of a much bigger Ash tree.

Thursday 16 October 2008

Wed 15th Aug 2008 - St Mary's RC Primary School, Ryde.

This week’s site was a new venue for the Green Gym, at St Mary’s RC Primary School in Ryde, which has encouraged wildlife into the grounds for some years. Our tasks were to tidy up their woodland area by cutting back overhanging trees, clearing brambles and nettles, then clearing vegetation from their pond and its surroundings. We also found an amazing wooden sculpture of a bush cricket situated in one of the old oak trees present in the woodland which are probably over 150 years old, together with some interesting bracket fungi.

The fungi is Polyporus Versicolor, common name “Turkey Tails” normally found in rows or overlapping shelves on stumps and logs of hardwoods from Autumn to Spring. The fruiting body is up to 10cm broad, bracket to shelf-like or fan-shaped, with thin, white, tough and fibrous flesh having a white to pale yellow layer of very small tubes, with the tube mouths more or less round.
Many thanks to Carrie for the pictures and editorial.

Friday 10 October 2008

Wed 08th Oct 2008 - West Wight Sports Centre.

This week saw the group visiting West Wight Sports Centre again, and the area in front of the sports centre we planted previously looks terrific. It was a lovely sunny day (big change from recent weather) and we had an excellent turnout of 30+ people. There was a lot of work cutting back and pruning all the areas around the Centre, and also digging over a very scruffy bed in the car park, laying a membrane, replanting and finishing off with wood chippings.

While digging up the bed we discovered over a dozen of a very strange looking bug (they were all carefully re-buried elsewhere), which were actually cockchafer larvae (Melolontha Melolontha). These are white with a brown head, and equipped with a strong pair of pincers for chewing through roots. The black area at the tail end is a fermentation chamber, which helps the larvae to digest their food. If you pick one up it might make a squeaking sound, which occurs when it rubs a row of pegs on its hind legs against its middle legs.

Due to the increasing success of our Green Gym group, we were joint third on a list of some thirty community organisations, to receive additional funding of £500 from the Rural Community Council, so well done to all of us. The Group are also being put forward for a Queens Award for Volunteering, so watch this space!
Many thanks to Carrie for both the editorial and the pictures this week.
Blogmaster's Note. Reading through the (smaller!) pages of the County Press, it looks as though certain GG members are in competition with Alan Titchmarsh to see who can get the most photographs in the paper....! Also a big congratulations to Ollie.....well done!

Thursday 2 October 2008

Wed 1st Oct 2008 - Rew Down Ventnor.

The GG venue this week was up on Rew Down, overlooking Ventnor. The rangers had us tasked to do what we are really good at - Cut & Burn...! This end of the down has become very overgrown and we are helping to cut it back, returning it to chalk grassland. The pictures above fail to show just how steep the hill is but one leg about a foot longer than the other would certainly be an advantage! It was an excellent turnout, shown by the group shots above, but the weather was starting to show the signs of autumn. The wind was quite strong but a couple of rain showers failed to dampen our spirtits - or the bonfire. Good progress was made at cutting back the bramble and shrubs, so much so that a good length of the fencing could be seen by the end of the session.
Many thanks to Hilary and Carrie for the photographs.