Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Patience is a virtue...

Saturday was lovely day and fortunately we were out making the most of the sunshine. There was a 'tree care' day at White Fen, the community woodland we have planted in stages since 2010 with a variety of local groups and villagers from Lode and Long Meadow!

Now there are over 6000 trees down there the challenge is to look after them and give them the best chance of surviving from 20cm to tall trees covered in berries for wildlife! It is a slow process and I'm very impatient about it but in five years we should see signs of success! In the mean time we mow between the trees once or twice a year to stop the weeds over taking them and then rely on volunteers to look after the individual trees.

Volunteers have been signing up throughout 2013 to take on a small patch of trees which they will be responsible for checking 2-3 times a year. Checking involves straightening canes, weeding and clearing guards of ants nest. They strangly and clevely build their nests in them in the summer as it is warm and dry for eggs, which is great for the ants but not for the tree.

On Saturday everyone came down at the same time so I could provide spare canes, guards (which we renamed twirlies!) and more importantly biscuits! Also people marked out their territories to avoid confusion. It was a fantastic day, lots of enthusiastic volunteers, I spotted Buzzards and field fares and It was great to see how many people were making use of the Lodes Way cycle path running through white fen - Walkers, cyclists, horse riders and runners. 

Burwell Scut group are going to look after their patch in a couple of weekends time when they are stayign at the wild camp site, followed by Cambridge Student volunteers doing theirs in March - this combined effort will mean all 6000 are checked before  the spring... now we just have to wait for them to grow!

Lois Baker
Community Ranger
Wicken Fen

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