Productive lunches

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Flanders Moss NNR

Volunteering on NNRs is such a wonderful thing. There are so many positive aspects to the work that it is win, win, win, win. As an example, a couple of weeks we had a great work party at Flanders Moss. Our usual band of volunteers turned up, people from all walks of life, and set to cutting gorse that was spreading at Ballangrew meadow. This is a part of the reserve that is right on the very edge of the bog and is actually mineral soil rather than peat. The meadow is a beautiful mosaic of wet and dry grasslands, swamp, bog and fen. And just one of the special plants that grows there is the lesser butterfly orchid. Though gorse is really good for wildlife you can have too much of a good thing and in places that gorse is smothering out the grassland where the orchids grow. The pyromaniacs soon had a good (too good!) fire going while the rest  hacked down the gorse. We are painting the cut stumps of the gorse with a herbicide to stop it from growing back again. An excellent work party with great biodiversity gains and a good health work out as a bonus.

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Gorse invading the lesser butterfly orchid area

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Ellen painting the stumps with herbicide

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Lesser butterfly orchid in summer.

But lunch times are a real joy as well, and where our vols do some of their best work. It must have been the well-earned food, the erudite company, the beautiful surroundings and this time the fine weather but this work party lunchtime was especially productive. In a blaze of blue sky thinking, cerebral riffing, horizon scanning and brainstorming our volunteers produced a mass of problem solving ideas for a range of local issues. Here are just 3 of the areas of discussion:

– combining composting toilet provision in the National Park and along the West Highland Way with a local rhubarb growing industry – circular economy at its best – I am sure you can work out the details

– the best way to tackle skunk cabbage, an invasive plant that causes us such a lot of work at Loch Lomond was the introduction of bears, who apparently eat it where it grows naturally in North America

– Next Canoe – like a Next or Boris Bike but a social enterprise business that uses canoes for walkers to use of path diversions by lochs e.g such as when the West Highland Way alongside Loch Lomond needs to be diverted for tree felling .

If Alan Sugar came along to our next few work parties he would have no problem finding his next Apprentice!

If you fancy coming along to join us for the work party think tanks just email Steve for more details  – stephen.longster@nature.scot. They are so much more than just doing practical tasks.

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The think-tank. 

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