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Blog Archive

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 28 March 2013

Wed 27th March 2013 - Castle Copse, East Cowes

Mark's Contribution.

Here are some photos of this week's session for the blog.  There are a couple photos of galls caused by a Gall Wasp called  Diastrophus rubi and the gall is on Rubus (bramble).  

The plant creates the gall as a reaction to the wasp laying its eggs within the stem, the grubs then feed inside and you can see the holes are where the little wasps emerge from the gall.

Carrie's Contribution.

Our venue for this week's Green Gym was at Castle Copse in East Cowes.  We have done some clearance work here in the past, but today we were planting trees in three separate areas.  We had bags of holly, field maple, oak and hazel, some 200 in all, so we soon set too with planting, and managed to finish all 200 during the session.  The guys from St Georges also did an amazing job with the litter pick, filling about six or seven bags of rubbish, which was carted away and put into a large skip on the nearby building site - with the permission of the builders of course!

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

The picture this week is of a budding Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) a deciduous tree, defined as a naturalized non-native.  Non-native is a species introduced by human action outside its natural past or present distribution, and naturalized species are those existing as a self-sustaining population persisting for more than four years and not dependent on repeated re-introduction.  Evidence from historical records plus the lack of fossil pollen record supports this view, and it is suggested the 16th century is when sycamore arrived in the UK.  The sycamore is a survivor and can withstand salty sea spray, cold winters, shady conditions, almost any type of soil and usually flourishes wherever it grows.  It also produces a good crop of seeds more often and more reliably than beech or oak, helping woodland and urban wildlife alike to survive. Abundant throughout the UK many specimens were originally planted in farmyards, as their luxuriant summer foliage provided livestock and dairies with a welcome and cooling shade.

There was certainly a sycamore in Dorset in 1834, when a group of labourers formed a society - the Tolpuddle Martyrs - to protest against falling wages. This tree has recently been dated and found to be around 150 years old when the meeting took place which puts it around 320 years old, far exceeding the common estimate of 200 years for the tree’s lifespan.

Many thanks to Carrie and Mark for the blog this week.

Thursday 21 March 2013

Wed 20th March 2013 - Squirrel Dell, Ryde.

Carrie's Contribution.

A return visit to a site we visited some time ago - the Squirrel Dell at Ryde Recreation ground.  Our first task was to sort out a large pile of cut wood to divide it into those suitable for stakes, and those for heathers - aha I hear you cry, some practice for our hedgelayers? - well sort of.  What was required was to block off a couple of areas in the dell to prevent them being accessed by the public, some of whom seem to be damaging the flora and fauna.  So the stakes pile had lots of nice points put on them and were transported down a VERY muddy hill to the right boundary.  Once these were in place the heather pile was also transported down the same muddy hill, which was much more slippery as the morning went on.  Still we persevered and as you can see it looked much better when we had finished.

Mark's Contribution.

A further number of volunteers set about creating some scrapes in the ground where water can pool, this will encourage amphibians, birds and mammals to use this habitat even more than they do currently.  The St George's School's Sixth Form lads work extremely hard on this task, unfortunately there isn't a photo of them in action but believe me they did a great job!

Thanks to Carrie and Mark for the reports this week.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Wed 13th March 2013 - Bee Fields, Newchurch.

Mark's Photographs.

Carrie's Photograph.

This week the Green Gym were creating homes for solitary bees at a nature site in Newchurch.  This involved removing the top layer of grass to expose the soil, and this task was very trying on the back, lots of bending up and down, now you know why they call it the Green Gym!  Once the top layer was removed it was either barrowed to the edge of the site and put upside down in piles, or put round the edges of the exposed soil areas for the bees to enjoy the sunshine.  The exposed areas were then walked all over to compress the soil, which is better for the bees to make their holes.   The photograph shows an example of  one of the areas.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

There are more than 200 species of solitary bee in Britain, and include Carpenter bees, Mining bees, Leafcutting bees, Mason bees, and Orchid bees, and are so named because, unlike honeybees and bumblebees, they do not live in colonies. All solitary bees are excellent pollinators and should be encouraged. Each female makes her own nest in which she constructs chambers or cells, and fills these with pollen moistened with nectar until there is enough food to feed a bee developing from an egg, through different larval stages, to a pupa and then to an adult bee. Bees develop very much like butterflies, with the "caterpillar" being the larva and the "chrysalis" the pupa. Once she has collected enough food she lays an egg on the pollen mass and seals the cell before going on to construct another.  The picture shows a red mason bee.

Many thanks to Carrie and Mark for this week's contribution.

Friday 8 March 2013

Wed 6th March 2013 - Shide Quarry, Newport.

Much confusion among the GG folk when they found out the venue was at Shide Quarry - this is normally a site we only visit at Xmas time, perhaps we were all in a time warp?  Phew! apparent not, just that Nick the ranger wants to organise some spraying to remove the persistent cotoneaster on this site, but to make this work better, we all spent a lot of time kneeling and bending to remove as much of the ground covering plant as possible. This makes the area for spraying smaller and easier to work with.  There were also some trees and buddleia to be removed and of course, a fire had to be lit to burn all the debris.

Many thanks to Carrie for contributing the above.