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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 25 October 2012

Wed 24th Oct 2012 - Pan Mill Meadows, Newport.

Mark's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

Green Gym returned to a site that we haven't visited in a long time for the session this week, the meadow area along the cycle track between Newport and Shide. On previous visits, we had to deal with a very overgrown area but, because of improved access, this time it had been possible to mechanically flail the whole area prior to our arrival (phew!) Normally the cut material is left to rot into the ground which will enhance the soil - but not the case for meadows. Wild flowers are happy to grow in poor soil so the rotting material would only encourage weeds and bramble, which stops the wild flowers coming up through. Team GG were soon scattered across the whole area busily raking up into piles which were then bagged up and taken to the edges of the meadow. At the same time, other members were off along the banks of the river and surrounding areas doing the usual litter pick.

At the start of the session Team GG were presented, by Patricia Almond of the CPRE (Isle of Wight branch), with an  award for our litter picking efforts across the Island and also a donation to help with the group's expenses. See top photograph.

This was a well attended session (perhaps because it was so central?) and the weather held good for us. It would be nice to return next summer and see how all our efforts paid off.

Photographs were supplied by Carrie & Mark.....many thanks!

Thursday 18 October 2012

Wed 17th Oct 2012 - Corf Camp, Shalfleet.

Well here were are back again at Corfe Camp - unfortunately one of the main jobs - spreading some gravel on boggy areas - was abandoned, as instead of two very large bags of gravel, only one teeny tiny one was delivered - Ooops!  However us Green Gymmers never say die, and we soon got stuck into more tasks.  First a small team returned to the drainage ditch we dug out on our last visit to install a pipe to improve the water flow from said ditch, and a second team  were tasked with clearing lots of bramble and tree growth from around one of the buildings to improve access. Other clearance work was also taking place, and after the break the final job was to clear away undergrowth from yet another ditch and clear away all the dead leaves to allow the water to flow away from one of the camping fields which of course with the recent rain was very waterlogged.

Thanks to Carrie for the editorial and to Carrie & Tony for the photographs this week.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Wed 10th Oct 2012 - Bee Fields, Newchurch.

Once again, this week's GG session was held at a new site for us - this time it was at the Bee Fields, Newchurch. The area we were working in is to the east of Newchurch village and is part of the nature reserve known as Martin's Wood. Originally this area was farmland but around 10 years ago it was planted with trees and shrubs to become the wonderful area for nature that it is today. Our task was to clear areas of grassland between the trees to provide open ground for some of the 70 types of bees that are established here. The bees are solitary - they do not live in swarms - and live in small holes burrowed into the soil. The light sandy soil here seems to suit their needs and it is amazing to see just how many bore holes there are. To encourage more to the area, we were lifting the top layer of grass and piling it on the edges of the cleared areas as apparently some bee species prefer to burrow into a bank rather that down into the soil.

Considering all the rain we have had recently, the weather held good for us and the sun even broke through a couple of times. With plenty of people attending this session, some were deployed to collect up the rabbit guards from the trees that had outgrown them.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

Two finds this week - the first was a lovely Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta) - catching the sunshine on the top of someone's car.  This stunning butterfly is a common sight in gardens during the summer.  They love plants such as buddleias, michelmas daisies, ice plants, flowering ivy and even rotting fruit.  There can be sightings as late as November on sunny days, and they have even been spotted during December, January and February, a time when few other butterfly species appear.  

The second find was Centaury (Centaurium Erythraea) a low-growing biennial found on sand dunes, heaths, woodland rides, quarries and other dry, grassy areas. It is in bloom between June and September and, like other members of the gentian family, its pink flowers close during the afternoon.  It has small, pink, five-petalled flowers held in clusters at the top of the stems, a rosette of oval leaves at the base of the stem and oval leaves appear in opposite pairs up the stem as well.

Thursday 4 October 2012

Wed 4th Oct 2012 - Corf Camp, Shalfleet.

This week team GG were back at what is becoming a regular venue in our calendar - the Corfe scout camp. Although the weather has been pretty wet leading up to our session, we managed to stay dry which encouraged a good turnout. Our task was to improve the drainage along one of the main pathways so, after cutting back the overhanging growth, it was all hands to the spades and shovels! Excellent progress was made and as can be seen from the photograph above, a good section of ditching was completed.

Mark's Award - The Merlin Trophy 2012.

The two photographs above show the Merlin trophy and certificate that was presented to Mark by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. The wording on the certificate reads as follows....

This certificate is awarded to Mark Russell of Green Gym for

The work you do for the Island, for the inspiration you generate in others,
for the guidance and teaching you provide for people who could be considered to be disadvantaged but clearly blossom under your expert care in the countryside.

I am sure that all the members of Team GG will agree wholeheartedly with the above and would join with me in giving Mark our congratulations on winning such a prestigious award.

Many thanks to Carrie, Tony and Martin for the photographs this week.