Archive for March, 2012

Back in June 2012 we assisted NT ranger Chris to build and locate bird nesting boxes at Wenlock Edge (click here if you need a reminder). We also did the same in 2011. Chris has recently updated the Wenlock Edge blog, detailing the success of the nesting boxes.

Click this link to read Chris’s update

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The following is an update by Dave Maeer, who was Workday Leader on our winter 2011/2012 Hedgelaying sessions.

Hedgelaying on the Attingham Estate  2011 to 2012

It has been a good hedgelaying season this winter. As usual we had four Saturday’s planned for the season. It got off to a slow start working on last year’s hedge but on our second visit we were given our ‘own’ hedge to work on.

The hedge was approximately 90m long and was located very close to the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton railway line. It had been planted ten or twelve years ago and so was a maiden hedge having never been laid before.

Our first session was spent clearing with a small amount of actual pleaching (actually laying the hedge).

The second session involved much more pleaching with the clearing being completed.

Our third and final session was a marathon session but by the end the entire length had been laid. On the day a team of eight had laid approximately 50m of hedge. We had run out of stakes by the end so it did not look quite as tidy but the important thing is that it has been laid and will now thrive for the next ten or twenty years before needing our attention again.

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I think it’s time to send a big thank you out to all the SSNTV Workday Leaders. We’d be lost without them.

I will rewind a little for those who don’t know how the workdays operate. Several months before any particular workday our Programme Coordinator, Lisa, sends out a blank timetable to all of the NT properties that we visit. The properties then put in requests for particular dates and in theory a nice, tidy, full timetable is produced. Of course, in real life, it never works like that. I’m not sure how Lisa juggles the requests and shuffles the double booked days, but somehow (some think it alchemy), hopefully with Lisa retaining her sanity, a draft timetable is prepared. This timetable is then sent out to all our potential Workday Leaders to match Workdays to Leaders. With much to-ing and fro-ing via email, the programme can then go to press…Lisa draws a breath…then starts preparing the next Workday programme, which is prepared on a quarterly basis.

It’s over to the Workday Leaders to play their part. The first task is to contact the NT Ranger/Warden/Gardener/Property Manager, and establish the location and nature of the work, agree a meeting place and discuss tools required. Next up, the Workday Leader acts as point of contact for all those wishing to attend the workday. They pass on all relevant information including meeting time, place, and any site-specific details that may be required. What’s next? The collection of workday tools needs to be organised. Check. On the workday, assuming there hasn’t been any last minute changes (this does happen, it creates the occasional headache!), the Leader meets everyone on site. There will be a safety talk before starting work, ensuring that everyone is aware of First Aid arrangements. It all goes swimmingly from there…well, most of the time. There is rarely a dull moment as Workday Leader: checking that everyone has enough work to do, always having an eye out for safety, boosting moral on cold damp days, calling ‘cake breaks’. It’s amazing how well motivated volunteers can be when there is cake involved. At the end of the workday, the Leader checks the tools, gives everyone appropriate pats-on-backs and then goes home to drink beer prepare a list of the hours worked to send to the Hours Secretary. Job done.

And so, today I’m sending out a HUGE THANK YOU to all the SSNTV Workday Leaders and our super fabulous PROGRAMME COORDINATOR for making our workdays happen.


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