Getting down to things – a volunteer coppices willow
February 18th 2011, and volunteers working by the Quaggy in Chinbrook Meadows are cutting down trees for the good of the environment. This might seems an odd thing to be doing. But it’s all about maximising biodiversity in our urban open spaces. Left unmanaged, fast growing willows soon become large, dominating trees – to the detriment of lower-growing vegetation. And cutting the trees at the base (coppicing), doesn’t kill – the stumps soon put on growth that isn’t grabbing all the space and light.
For managing the natural environment, volunteer labour is a huge asset. Lewisham is fortunate in having a resolute band of conservationists who regularly work in Nature’s Gym, that’s a partnership between the Borough of Lewisham and Glendale Grounds Management. The volunteers also turn out on conservation tasks organised by Lewisham’s Rivers and People Project.
When community events are specially organised by Glendale, as on this occasion, there’s also the company’s own trainees to call upon. Glendale offers long term unemployed youth the opportunity to gain a qualification in horticulture and park management – which in Lewisham of course includes river ecology. Forty-five young people currently are benefitting from the scheme.
Practical conservation is free, fun and keeps you fit and healthy. You work with friendly people of all ages and backgrounds and there’s new skills to be learned from a variety of tasks carried out on the borough’s wildlife sites. End results are really satisfying.
For details of Natures Gym contact:
Jessica Kyle, Lewisham’s nature conservation officer firstname.lastname@example.org
or Lara Al-jabi, Glendale’s nature conservation officer email@example.com