Ingenious, diligent and with the odd karate kick
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.