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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 :-

The link to Twitter is

If you would like to leave us any comments then please use this link

Thursday 26 July 2012

Wed 25th July 2012 - Compton Bay.

While the majority of the Island residents were down at Cowes greeting the Queen & Prince Philip on the last day of the Diamond Jubilee visits, Team GG were down on the beach doing a litter pick. This Wednesday was a busy one for us - not only did we have our usual GG session but also took part in  the Bioblitz event which, this year, was held in the car park at Compton Bay.

The weather turned out to be a real scorcher - in fact it was widely reported to be the hottest day of the year to date - somewhere not far short of 30 degrees C and not much of a breeze to cool the workers down. Armed with litter pickers and rubbish sacks, we were soon patrolling the beach from Compton to the white cliffs at Freshwater, searching out litter and debris. It didn't take long for the bags to fill up and by tea break came around, a considerable pile of rubbish was at the collection point in the car park.

With the work session over, some of the team stayed for a beach picnic and a few of them were off to cool down in the sea...!

Photographs (above) were sent in by Mark.....many thanks...!

And below.....a couple of photographs taken by Carrie......

Thursday 19 July 2012

Wed 18th July 2012 - Fort Victoria, Yarmouth.

As team GG began meeting in the car park at Fort Victoria on Wednesday morning, people started to look at what was in the Ranger's trailer - yes, once again it was the dreaded wheelbarrows...! Wheelbarrows at Fort Vic can mean only one thing - loads and loads of limestone chippings for rebuilding pathways. To make matters even worse.....Mark then turned up with the GG trailer which was also full've guessed it...even more wheelbarrows..! Oh well, there was no escape so it was off for a walk in the woods to locate all the pre-dumped piles of chippings and get work underway.

The recent record rainfalls had caused many of the pathways in this area to become flooded and muddy so our task was to shovel away the mud and then make good the surface with chippings. This time there was some 5 piles for us to work from and an estimated 8 - 10 tonnes of material overall. With the workforce split into several teams good progress was made at reinstating the routes in this wonderfully scenic area.

For those who fancied something different (to wheelbarrowing!) there was plenty to do cutting back overgrown areas alongside the main track. See photographs below (many thanks to Eddie for them).

At teatime this week we were shown the "shortlisted" entries for the IoW GG logo competition. All our members had been invited to design a new corporate logo and the results were really quite amazing. The committee are now getting costings done for printing etc and then the final winner will be announced - but a huge WELL DONE to all those who entered....!!

Although the weather was overcast, there were only a couple of light showers during the session - just enough to cool down after feverish wheelbarrowing tasks. Thank goodness we had such a good turnout otherwise we would have struggled to complete the work assigned.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

This week's find is Enchanter's Nightshade (Circaea Lutetiana), which is part of the evening primrose family.  The name comes from the enchantress Circe of Greek mythology, and the generic designation is derived from Lutetia the Latin name for Paris, which was at one time known as the Witch City.

Despite its name this plant is not especially toxic but contains a lot of the astringent tannin.  It is a perennial herbaceous plant with opposite simple leaves on slender green stems, which are rounded or slightly notched at the base, narrow gradually to the pointed tip and are not strongly toothed but have sinuate edges. The flowers are white, borne in summer and have 2 notched petals, 2 stamens and a 2-lobed stigma. The open flowers are well spaced along the stalk, and there are no bracts at the base of individual flower stalks. The fruit consists of two equal cells, and usually sets seed, with the flower stalks angling downwards before fruiting.  It is native to Europe, Middle Asia and Siberia, and it grows in deep shade and moist environments on nitrogen-containing clay, often in areas where other plants struggle to survive.

Many thanks to Carrie for (some of) the photographs and the Nature Lesson.

Thursday 12 July 2012

Wed 11th July 2012 - Watershoot Bay - Niton.

Wednesday morning found Team GG heading off for their annual visit to the seaside but instead of the more traditional buckets and spades, we were issued with black bags, litter pickers and clipboards...! It was time for our monitored litter pick down at the most southerly tip of the Island's coastline - Watershoot Bay (just to the west of St Catherine's Lighthouse). Over the last few years, Green Gym has taken part in the survey that looks at what sort of litter and debris is washed up on selected beaches around the UK. It is best described as being a "pick n' tick" exercise - pick up an item of litter - identify it - tick it off on the pre-printed form and then bag it. The completed paperwork is then sent off for correlation with the results being published later in the year.

The GG beach babes were soon dragging huge lumps of timber, pallets, rope etc up the beach to where a mini mountain of black bags started to pile up. This year there seemed to be a considerable increase in the amount of rope along with fishing nets and lines - it will be interesting to see if this is just a local issue or nation wide. Although we had a couple of short, sharp showers the weather was good to us and the gusty SW wind soon dried clothing off again.

Many thanks to Carrie for the photographs.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Wed 4th July 2012 - Cycle Path at Alverstone.

Due to the wonderful British summer weather (what happened to drought and global warming?) the Green Gym session this week was rescheduled at very short notice. Several people had difficulty in finding the correct venue but all things considered we had a good turn-out. There were a couple of short showers during the morning but not enough for work to stop.....!

The task this week was very basic, try and uproot as many Himalayan Balsam plants as you can in 3 hours - no tools needed - just a strong back and a pair of gloves. Perhaps a good pair of wellies should be added to the list as the river bank areas were, to say the very least, rather wet underfoot. After a comprehensive briefing on how to recognise this pesky invader, (it looks similar to several "good" native plants) we were soon scouring the undergrowth. Nobody had to look too hard as once you got your eye in you realise that the whole area was covered with the darn stuff....! It is best described as having a long stem, similar to bamboo but has the structure of a stick of celery - that snaps easily if not pulled from as low down as possible. It is important to pull plants before they flower (the flowers are pink) as the seed pods are the exploding type that spread the seeds far away from the parent plant. For further details, see Carrie's Nature Lesson below. Good progress was made at clearing the nominated area but it is doubtful that this invader will ever be eliminated from the Island by Green Gym's efforts. It is easier to pull than ragwort and also gives us a change of scenery so can't be all bad....!

There is an  article in this week's (July 6th) County Press - Weekender - page 4 entitled "Fighting the invaders" which talks about Himalayan Balsam. Worth a look.......

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens Glandulifera) was introduced to the UK in 1839 and is now a naturalised plant found especially on riverbanks and in waste places where it has become a problem weed.  It tolerates low light levels and also shades out other vegetation gradually impoverishing habitats by killing off other plants.  Because it dies back in the winter, this can lead to the erosion of riverbanks which has the potential to cause loss of habitat for water voles.
It grows to some 6-10 feet in height and produces clusters of purplish pink helmet shaped flowers between June and October.  The flowers are followed by seed pods containing up to 800 seeds which explode to spread theie contents up to a distance of seven metres.  Its common names are Policeman's Helmet, Bobby Tops, Copper Tops and Gnome's Hatstand, which originate from the hat shape of the flowers.

Many thanks to Carrie for the photographs and nature lesson.

And a couple of late photographs (thanks Mark!)