Showing posts from February, 2016

Woodland themes and activities for public consumption March - June 2016


Measuring and ageing trees
Woodland flowersFlowers of meadow and waysideBugsBreeding woodland birds
Dawdling Woodland WalksThe Dawn Chorus 

To introduce or not? Woodland Wednesday number 7 at Highbury Park

Today's theme - To introduce or not
Many thanks to Anne Brookes from B&BCWT for a great contribution of potted plants from EcoPark. The selection included-
Wood SedgeWood SorrelPrimroseGround IvyYellow ArchangelSweet WoodruffWood SpeedwellWood MilletVioletOpposite Leaved Golden Saxifrage The sets are propagated at Eco Park with seeds or cuttings collected from known provenance, and given a seal of approval by Professor Ian Trueman.

We began the session with a discussion about the crafting of a plantation, which theoretically aims to enhance or 'speed up' habitat development by a variety of means including-
the creation of dead wood through coppicingmanaging accessrecording and monitoring wildlifeintroducing relevant species (mostly ground flora or trees) to improve biodiversity In most discussions of this nature there are varied ideas about what should or should not be introduced; some purists might suggest 'add nothing and allow nature to take its course', other…

Natural Capital

'Natural Capital' - the capitalisation of nature However one approaches the issues of environmental impact and globalisation, there is no escaping the economic fear factor when considering climate change and environmental degradation, and hence a new term has been presented to CEO's, economists and other finance leaders throughout the business networks; 'Natural Capital', a shrewd and perhaps necessary term, to get the attention of those involved in world wide business institutions and financial entities, where bottom line and increased profits is perhaps the only concern for many. To most of us 'on the ground', we welcome any discussion that raises and highlights our concerns regarding environmental plight, and whilst our concerns are perhaps more 'down to earth' = counting birds, identifying wild flowers, bug hunting etc. we look elsewhere, often via media coverage, to assess the health of our environment. And, perhaps somewhat cynically, we know t…

Woodland Wednesdays at Highbury 2016

Alf Dimmock BCC Parks and Nature Conservation  Hall Green and Selly Oak Senior Ranger 12 February 2016 Woodland Wednesdays Highbury Park, January-March 2016 Synopsis 9 meetings between January and March 2016- Invitations - Members of the public, Highbury Park Friends, HOCCIC, Simon Needle (Conservation and Planning), Robert Osborne (Former BCC tree officer), Terry Quinn (Biological recorder), Anne Brookes (B&BCWT). Aims; Consultation, information sharing  Themes; woodland comparisons, plantations, woodland features, species identification, species recording, practical coppice management, dead wood habitats, standing dead wood, woodland flowers and other vegetation, when does a plantation become a woodland?, veteran trees, matutre oaks, scrub, measuring and ageing mature oaks, heritage, tools, health and well being, interacting with woodlands, poetry and literature. Meeting 1. Introductions and walk around Highbury Park, South-east and west. Themes;-  looking at buds for deciduous tree i…

Highbury Park Management Plan (Perspective and Vision)

A Vision for Highbury Park (Community) Woodland and community engagement
Perspective There are a few good examples of ‘Community Woodlands’ around the country, usually in situations in which typically there is strong community interest involving keen amateur woodland managers, enthusiastic stalwarts and experts in collaboration to conserve their local woods in the ‘olde waye', following practices from the past four thousand years. A crucial element to a successfully managed community woodland is a dedicated band of men, women and children, keen physically, spiritually and mindfully to engage with the ecology, fibre, structure  and ‘crafting’ involved in ‘traditional’ woodland management.  Traditional in the sense of managing for products, many which are little required during the latter part of the 20th Century, but which might just come back into their own, either as novelty, must-have 21st Century 'earth connectors' or by design, in competition with other trend materials, or…

The Wildlife Trust For Birmingham and The Black Country

Nature Improvement Areas.

The spread of Opposite Leaved Golden Saxifrage at Centenary Woods, Cannon Hill, is a result of NIA work. The plant was cell grown from cuttings at ECO Park and transplanted in suitably wet conditions; The past two years growth shows the plant thriving in its new setting.

A tiny fraction of the current prostrate matting was introduced, perhaps 5-6 foliates, so the expanding growth shown in the image above is excellent.

"Habitat: Woodland flushes, stream sides, springs, wet rocks, on acid soils;" (Collins Flower Guide)

"Chrysosplenium oppositifolium, is a creeping, mat forming perennial whose bright yellow flowers, cupped in green, leafy brackets, form trickles of gold on shady stream banks and in woodland flushes as early as mid March" (Flora Britannica, Richard Mabey)

Check out the Wildlife Trust's website by clicking the link below for details of NIA work in Birmingham.

The Yew

In the chapter 'The Cult Of Celebrity' Richard discusses the Yew in terms of its ancient sacredness and celebrity status amongst Tree lovers, Botanists, Druids and New Age devotees.

It seems to me that most of us with any interest in trees will have a particular story of the Yew. For my part, as a child, one of the trees at Oakley's Park, Colley Gate (Cradley) was known affectionately as 'the easy tree', and most suited to the initiates of tree climbing. Some progressed to the Eagle's Nest and the Owl's Nest in the grounds of The Grange, and here one could hide from the staff employed at, what became known as an 'illegal abortion clinic'. Today it is the respectable West Midlands Hospital.

The most experienced tree climbers would risk life and limb to traverse a line of 5 or 6 Sycamore trees above the spiked railings bordering the park; several spiking incidents occurred, causing serious injury. One had to be particularly adept and only a single pe…