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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 27 September 2012

Wed 26th Sept 2012 - Mill Copse, Yarmouth.

An old GG favourite was our venue for this week, helping Nick the Ranger with several tasks at Mill Copse, Yarmouth.  The sight of wheelbarrows in the back of the truck was a slight giveaway, and there were two substantial piles of limestone chippings in two different areas of the copse.  There are regular visits by schools here, and these particular areas have certainly suffered the constant tread of feet being very muddy and slippery - once the piles were spread and raked however, they certainly looked much better.  The next task was to coppice an area of hazel - this process has been undertaken here over a period of time to allow more light into the wood, and will allow flowers such as the butterfly orchid to thrive.  Our final task was to follow the sound of the chainsaw and stack the logs and brush into neat piles.  And for something completely different, we also had a group of young people from Sandown Academy who were making a film and taking pictures for a school project.  They hope to get the finished product out there to promote this kind of conservation work - and what a smashing group they were too!

Many thanks to Carrie for the editorial and photographs this week.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Wed 19th Sept 2012 - Castle Copse, East Cowes.

Another new venue for Green Gym, this time down at East Cowes. In the midst of all the new building work is a green area - now to be named Castle Copse. Green Gym were tasked to "do a makeover" - so, with slashers, lopers, mattocks etc at the ready we set about making the whole area more assessable. One of the major tasks was to dig up as many of the Sycamore seedlings as possible - as these had sprung up everywhere. The whole area was treated to a good litter pick and unwanted shrubs, rotting trees etc were cut back or removed completely. This area will soon have multiple points of access and is expected to become a quiet, green, nature friendly area in what is becoming a very built up town.
The weather was bright and once again we had an excellent turnout.

 Welcome to all the new members who joined us for the first time.

Many thanks to Carrie for the photographs.

Friday 14 September 2012

Wed 12th Sept 2012 - Medina Valley Centre, Newport.

With the Medina Valley Centre being so close to the Newport / Cowes cycle track some of the GG team arrived on cycles or on foot for this week's session. Our first task was to clear a somewhat neglected area to the western boundary of the site - this is in preparation for the planting of a hedge which will be carried out when we return later this year. The area that had been pre-cut was raked up and the overgrown hedge and trees cut back to the original railway wire and post fencing. The material that was cut away was used as dead hedging - hopefully this will protect the new hedge once it has been planted. An area around a small pond was cut back to encourage birds and red squirrels.

Our tea break was taken at the recently commissioned seating area down by the Medina and we were treated to freshly made tea, coffee, squash and some delicious banana cake.....many thanks..!

After the break the team split into two groups, one finishing up the work started earlier and the other working at the field site, a little further north along the river bank. They were involved in clearing the access path and topping up the layer of wood chippings to keep the path dry in the winter months ahead.

Carrie's Nature Lesson

This week's find was a beautiful comma butterfly (Polyonia c-album) which was sunning itself on one of the hedges round the Medina Centre.  It is one of the most attractive species to visit our gardens in the summer, and is particularly appealing for its shape and colour.  When the comma spreads its wings to bask in the sun it reveals a beautiful combination of orange and brown markings a little reminiscent of the fritillary butterfly family. Look carefully at its wings and you will see that not only is it colourful but it also has an intricate outline.
It isn't immediately obvious why this butterfly should have evolved such a sculpted shape but when its wings are closed all is revealed. The dark brown of it's underwing combined with this unusual shape helps the comma appear nothing more than a dead leaf; a fantastic piece of deception and camouflage.  Look closely at its underwing and you will see the comma-shaped white mark in the centre of its hind wing which is the reason for its common name.  They will come to gardens to feed on nectar-rich plants such as buddleia and verbena.

Many thanks to Carrie for the photographs.

Friday 7 September 2012

Wed 5th Sept 2012 - NatureZone, Blackwater.

This week saw the Green Gym at Naturezones just outside Newport.  The fact that there were lots of pitchforks and rakes, and a VERY large field with piles of hay, did rather give us a clue to this morning's task.  On a beautiful, very warm sunny day there were soon several groups raking up the hay.  As the field had been cut for a couple of days, we had to turn over the hay underneath so it could dry out, ready for baling.  Some beautiful wildlife in evidence were some harvest mice, a very spectacular dragonfly and four buzzards circling around hoping for a quick snack. 

The photograph shows a separate stack of hay which is not good enough quality to bale set aside for burning.

Naturezones was started in 2007 with the aim of maintaining a nature reserve to educate people of all ages about the importance of creating, sustaining and protecting biodiversity habitats for wildlife.  They also operate a wildlife education centre in conjunction with various organisations, including the Isle of Wight College and local environmental organisations, to train people in various areas including woodland management, meadow management, pond management and wildlife study. It also provides work experience to college students and facilities for teachers involved in wildlife education courses.

Many thanks to Carrie for the editorial and photograph.