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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 30 August 2012

Wed 29th Aug 2012 - Fort Victoria, Yarmouth.

The above photographs (thanks Carrie!) tell the story of this week's GG session beautifully - we are at Fort Victoria and once again working on the numerous pathways. If you look carefully, you will also notice the change in clothing between the two photographs.......because at around 11:30 the heavens opened and everyone had to get out the rain gear...! Our friendly rangers had arranged for piles of limestone chipping to be dumped at strategic places around the area ready for us to shovel and barrow  to the relevant places. Considering that the poor weather had been well forecasted, we had a good turnout of workers some of which tackled other jobs in the surrounding woods.

Friday 24 August 2012

Wed 22nd Aug 2012 - Alverstone Nature Reserve.

This week the weather was good enough for us to go hay making at Skinner's Meadow, Alverstone. This is become an annual event for the Green Gym Team with us having "brought in the harvest" many time over the last few years! The meadow had been cut prior to this session so we set to work with rakes, gathering the hay into long orderly lines across the field, thereby enabling it to be fed into the baling machine. This clever device "eats" up the hay, rolls it into large cylinders then wraps the outside  with a biodegradable netting. The bales are then rolled down the field and stacked. The hay is used for animal bedding during the winter months with some going to a strawberry farm (to support the fruit from the ground). Considering the unusual weather we have had this year, we seemed to get a good harvest - the piled up bales looking very impressive at the bottom of the field. The sun shone throughout the session and the team did well to get the whole of the field prepared for the bailing machine.
Photographs were taken by Carrie......thank you!

Friday 17 August 2012

Wed 15th Aug 2012 - Wetland Walk, Adgestone.

The first picture is from Mark - showing how wet this GG session was....!!!!!

Now I know it's been said that the sun always shines on the Green Gym, but this week was definitely an exception.  The plan was to do some hay baling at Alverstone Nature Reserve, and although the field has been cut the recent rain meant that the baling had to be postponed.  So we all decamped along to Adgestone, where the vegetation at the community orchard was in dire need of a cut back.  We all set to with slashers, shears and scythes, but it wasn't long before the rain became very persistent, so much so that we had to hang a tarpaulin over a couple of trees otherwise the teatime biscuits would have been decidedly soggy.  But perseverance was the order of the day and the rain did ease up after a time.  All the cuttings were stacked at the side of the site, and it certainly looked very much better at the end of the morning.

Many thanks to Carrie for the editorial & photographs. Below are some photographs taken on Wednesday by Eddie.  Can anyone identify the picture of the moth below (Eddie found it in his garden)?

Thursday 9 August 2012

Wed 8th Aug 2012 - Alverstone Nature Reserve.

It is usually at this time of year that GG help out at Alverstone Nature Reserve with the hay baling.  So wouldn't you know that after a few days lovely sunshine, overnight rain meant that the hay was too wet to cut! However our ever resourceful volunteers soon got stuck into the alternative task of ragwort clearance.  The two large fields normally grazed by Highland cattle did have a huge amount of the dreaded weed, but after a hard morning's work both fields were ragwort free and many full barrows were taken back to the two dumping areas well out of the reach of the cows. There were a couple of minor difficulties with the humid weather bringing out lots of biting insects - ouch! - and some digging disturbed an ants nest the inhabitants of which whizzed up a few trouser legs but hey! who said volunteering was all fun and games!!!

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

Three finds this week, the first by Elspeth, which is a Bloody-nosed beetle (Timarcha Tenebricosa).  It is a large, round beetle with long legs that is flightless and can often be seen plodding across paths or through grass. It can be found during the spring and summer in grassland, heathland and along hedgerows. One of our largest 'leaf beetles', adults feed on the leaves of Lady's Bedstraw and related plants, and the larvae can be seen hanging from these plants. The name derives from its defence mechanism, when breathed on, the beetles secrete a blood-red liquid from the mouth which irritates the mouths of mammals.

The second and third of this week's finds, were by Les with terrific photos taken by Tony - the first being a Great Green Bush Cricket (Tettigonia Viridissima), and it by far our largest bush-cricket. It lives in trees and on grassland dotted with patches of scrub, eating vegetation and other insects. It prefers light, dry soils into which the females can lay their eggs using their long, down-curved ovipositors. The males display to females by producing a very loud, long 'song' by rubbing their forewings together. They sound like a sewing machine going continuously for long periods, but their expert camouflage still makes them hard spot.

The second was a spectacular moth known as a Garden Tiger (Arctia Caia). Its forewings are chocolatey-brown with cream patterns, whereas its hindwings are orangey-red with black spots. Its bright colours warn predators that it tastes unpleasant.  It used to be a widespread species but has declined in recent years, but Colin the County Ecologist has had other reports of sightings of this moth, so perhaps it is making a comeback.  Its brown and black, exceedingly hairy caterpillar is often called a 'woolly bear'. The hairs are irritant and protect it from predators, such as birds - be warned in case you pick one up! Garden tigers overwinter as caterpillars and can be seen from June to August in gardens, parks, grassland, meadows and scrubby areas.  The adults drink nectar from flowers, and the caterpillars eat low-growing, herbaceous plants.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the editorial and photographs.

Thursday 2 August 2012

Wed 1st Aug 2012 - The Riverside Centre, Newport.



Tidy Up


Team GG were very much on their "home turf" this week - our session was held at the Riverside Centre, corporate HQ for the IoW Green Gym..! Anyone who has visited this multi-purpose facility will remember that the whole building is surrounded by garden areas, many of which are allowed to grow "naturally". As with most things in the natural world, they need the occasional helping hand to redress the balance between nature and wild - so that was our task. All those who had managed to tear themselves away from watching the Olympics soon found themselves trimming, weeding, replanting, digging over etc, etc on the areas towards the riverside and in the courtyard to the rear. The trailer soon became overfull and three large storage bags were also topped off with the clippings and weeds removed. The customers using the restaurant facilities will now be able to see up the river once again..!
We had an excellent turnout and although the sky went very dark at times, it remained dry.

Many thanks to Carrie for taking the photographs.