In­ge­nious, dili­gent and with the odd karate kick

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - WILD LIFE -

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Our team of vol­un­teers gath­ered in her wake. The pow­er­ful gales had left many of the guards pro­tect­ing our newly planted trees tee­ter­ing on the edge, leav­ing the del­i­cate saplings open to pre­da­tion by deer and rab­bits.

And so the chal­lenge was set: with lim­ited re­sources, the guards must be se­cured more ef­fec­tively. This time the day was about brains rather than brawn. A hand­ful of canes, some cable ties, a few spare tree guards and off the team went. I watched, mar­vel­ling at the in­ge­nu­ity and cre­ativ­ity of this re­mark­able group of peo­ple.

One thou­sand saplings were checked and se­cured. It was grat­i­fy­ing to dis­cover that the large ma­jor­ity were thriv­ing. The fu­ture looks bright for this area of the wood, where many species will reap great ben­e­fits from the na­tive trees we’ve planted.

As spring turned into sum­mer there were new chal­lenges for the vol­un­teers.

No longer could we chop trees and clear scrub, ev­ery­body’s favourite wood­land pas­time, for the wood must be left alone to pro­vide for the nest­ing birds.

And so, ‘con­vict work’ was on the agenda for our next gath­er­ing. The ac­cess track to Fine­mere, deeply pot­holed, was in dire need of re­pair.

This was go­ing to be back­break­ing work. Such a job is not suit­able for all, and mind­ful of this, I had an al­ter­na­tive task on of­fer.

Now I am not one for gen­der stereo­typ­ing, but it amused me greatly, that ev­ery sin­gle man, re­gard­less of age or phys­i­cal con­di­tion, chose the pot­hole op­tion with­out any hes­i­ta­tion!

At our most re­cent gath­er­ing, the task was to de­con­struct an old, un­used stock pen. For­tu­nately, there are many vol­un­teers will­ing to do such a job.

De­spite their many ad­mirable qual­i­ties, and the time they in­vest in the wor­thy cause of con­ser­va­tion, one has to won­der at the de­struc­tive na­ture of these in­di­vid­u­als!

And so with ham­mers and crow bars, us­ing brute force, pow­er­ful mus­cles and karate kicks (not rec­om­mended, nor en­cour­aged), vol­un­teers bashed and smashed as they took on the day’s chal­lenge. Piece by piece the fence came down, rails were re­moved, posts prised out of hard, dry ground.

In con­trast to this scene of tem­po­rary dev­as­ta­tion, Fine­mere Wood looks glo­ri­ous at this time of year, a rich pal­ette of colour, as a great di­ver­sity of wild flow­ers come into bloom.

While tak­ing a break, the vol­un­teers can reap the ben­e­fits of last year’s hard work as they en­joy the sight of these flow­ers which in turn at­tract many colour­ful in­sects.

The tasks we carry out may be var­ied but they all have one pur­pose: to en­hance this special place for wildlife.

If you’d like to vol­un­teer visit www.bbowt.org.uk/ vol­un­teer for in­for­ma­tion.

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