Monthly Archives: May 2016

Flower matters

Last week I promised a photo of the cowslip growing in the Hay meadow. Of course when we returned this morning I could not find it. However, yesterday I noticed that the Red Valerian, long growing in the wall under the canal has migrated to our wall between Aldcliffe Road and the Flora Field. So here is a picture of that!

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In addition, I promised a picture of chickweed for the collection of flowers found on the Reserve a year ago but missed them. So, here is the lowly chickweed.

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Wildlife whilst ragworting

The joys of ragworting are limited but this morning we did have one or two good wildlife experiences. Two hares were playing a chasing game, (we suspect male and female!), in the School Field. We could hear the birds singing including encouraging ones from the direction of the Flora Field. At ground level we noticed a cowslip which, on investigation, seems to be the first one noted on the Reserves since we started keeping a record. A photo next week. The Hay Meadow is full of yellow rattle, ribwort plantain and clover as well as smaller amounts of good king henry and yarrow. Another step forward on its way to a flower meadow.

Fairfield volunteering, May 2016

Dear All

Jonathan is off on his hols so this reminder will be bereft of his lively prose. It covers four items of volunteering activity:
* next Saturday’s regular volunteer session
* Ragworting
* Our Associate Volunteer Scheme
* Training in tree and woodland management
Our next monthly Saturday volunteering session will be on the 14th May meeting at the storage building at 10am (prompt please if you can)  and hopefully going on until 1pm.
The list of tasks is:

* The wildflower plot (behind the Fauna stones) has not germinated and will be  re-seeded.

* Retrieve some of the Alder saplings removed from Alder Pond and replant them in the wet hedge between the Fauna path boardwalk and the School Pond. This is DEFINITELY a WELLINGTONS job.

* Make up some wired bundles of barley straw to combat the algae growing in some of our scrapes and ponds. Again wellingtons a necessity.

* We have a school visit to investigate ‘mini-beasts’ in the week after our session so the wood logs we use to provide insects with a home need clearing of nettles.

* If the Long Pads footpath needs it then clear protruding growth.

* Mow the grass edges of the Fauna path

* Plug a  a gap in the fence down the track from the shed and fencing the in the south west corner of West Field needs a bit more work.

* Cutting back and digging out bramble encroaching within the Paddock and the Hay Meadow.

* Dig out ragwort.

In addition a small ‘specialist’ group will install replacement kit in the playground.
The Ragwort Working Party will meet on Wednesday 11th and Wednesday 18th May from 9.30, meeting at the Shed. All welcome. We will then be reviewing how best to continue ragwort control so keep an eye out for future announcements.
Our Associate Volunteer Scheme involves people volunteering in their own time as well as, or instead of, our organised sessions. As the summer approaches the list of jobs to be done increases. Examples are keeping new saplings in the hedges clear of weeds to give them a sporting chance, keeping the Long Pads footpath clear of overhanging growth and keeping our wooden benches free of encroaching brambles and nettles. If you think you might help with these sort of jobs (as well as ongoing ragwort control!) then contact Ian on sysaf123-volunteer@yahoo.co.uk or 07811 970 595.
Lancaster Green Spaces are offering free training in tree management. This will include sessions, during the autumn, on the following topics
* Tree identification and physiology, common tree diseases
* Types of woodland, woodland ecology
* Woodland management plans
* Coppicing and thinning principles and practice.
Two of our regular volunteers are already lined up for these sessions but there may be space for someone else. If you go on behalf of the Fairfield Association we will expect you to repay our sponsorship with input into the Association’s tree management.
Congratulations if you have persevered right to the end. Hope to see you soon
ian procter, FA Volunteer Organiser