Cultivate habitats – it’s vital to nature’s survival
THE great outdoors could be described in many ways, but on some levels, “consistency” is perhaps not a quality that you could ascribe to it.
Some habitats are temporary, with a natural inclination to change, others can form an ancient and productive landscape if left to develop.
The trick is knowing which ones are which, and what needs to be done to manage them.
So while volunteers gear up for another winter of cutting back Sea Buckthorn scrub on the Sefton coast, keeping dune areas open and attractive for key species, not too far away an exciting scheme is being pursued to encourage youngsters to create new woodland.
Two sides of the conservation coin in the same borough.
Volunteers like Phil Smith and his team of “buckthorn bashers” meet regularly to control the Sea Buckthorn with loppers and are always happy to welcome new members to the fold.
Phil and co were out for the first time last week, cutting back Sea Buckthorn at Ainsdale. For more dates when they head out, check for updates on the www.facebook.com/ greensefton page and the @ GreenSefton_ twitter feed.
In the frontal dunes from Hall Road to Southport, control of scrub is vital if this transient dune habitat is to survive – if scrub is left to develop naturally, open sand is quickly shaded out and turns to soil, making the place unattractive for everything from Natterjack Toads to Dune Pansies.
However, a relatively short distance away the Trees for Learning programme, co-ordinated by The Mersey Forest team, seeks to encourage youngsters to plant native and orchard tree species in Sefton as part of a wider programme, but crucially away from the coastal strip.
The Mersey Forest, is working together with Sefton Council’s Green Sefton team and other local authorities to hit the target of helping primary schools to plant thousands of trees, so enhancing our green spaces and provide spaces for outdoor learning.
Trees for Learning forms part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) pledge to support schools to plant one million trees nationally by 2020.
Green Sefton is looking at sites suitable for woodland planting for some of our primary children as part of the project.
Jo Sayers, the Mersey Forest’s Community Development Officer and project manager and national co-ordinator for DEFRA One Million Trees, is working on the project.
“Teachers and teaching assistants taking part in the schemes across the Mersey Forest area are finding that pupils really thrive in an outdoor learning environment,” Jo explained.
“This adds to the growing body of evidence to support the importance of schools allowing children time to connect with nature and have access to an outdoor classroom in their school grounds or in their community”.
The project has completed two of the planned four years with some 35,000 trees planted so far.
For more details contact the Mersey Forest on 01925 816217 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Approximately 60,000 trees are to be planted in The Mersey Forest area over the project.
Phil Smith and his volunteer “buckthorn bashers”
Trees for Learning allows children to engage with nature
Rowan – a native tree in Britain, but the berries would be toxic if taken in large amounts
Sea Buckthorn can have a devastating effect on the dune system