Thank You

Last week we hosted our famous Summer BBQ at Ash Lock, where we say thank you to all the volunteer groups along the Blackwater Valley. The evening was a great success with plenty of hot food and chatting. Thank you to all the hard work of our invaluable volunteers, who make a real difference to our community and wildlife.

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Fun at Farnborough Gate

On our Tuesday task it was my first official time leading the volunteer task, and how lucky I was to have such a fantastic team, Although 2 of them almost got lost !

As you can see from the pictures below, Farnborough gate needed the BVCP treatment,

and who better to the rescue than Tony, Mike, David, Andrew, John and Duncan. Look at this amazing transformation ! Even after the most indecisive weather of the summer the volunteers braved the rain and turned Farnborough gate around.

Beautiful

Thank you so much gang, I shall definitely snatch the good biscuits for you more often 🙂

Assistant Ranger Bobbie Withers

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Ticks – Staying Safe This Summer

When exploring our lovely countryside, it’s useful to keep up to date and informed about potential risks. Now we’re into the warm summer, one to be aware of is how to keep safe from ticks and reduce the possibility of catching Lyme Disease when you’re out and about.

Cause – Ticks infected with this bacterial infection can spread Lyme Disease to people when they bite them. Only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria, which results in around 2,500 cases per year in the UK.

Prevention

  • Take extra care in the summer when ticks are most active, in areas with lots of deer or livestock and long grass or bracken.
  • Reduce the risk of a bite by covering up, tucking your trousers into your socks in true Monty Python style or using insect repellent.
  • Check yourself for ticks especially on your legs & groin. Extract the tick when you find it. To remove a tick use fine-toothed tweezers to gently grip as close to the skin as possible and pull away steadily removing the body and head. Specialist tick removers can be bought at vets. Alternatively placing a blob of liquid soap entirely covering the tick, should make it fall off.
  • Check your pets after their walk so they don’t bring in ticks

Symptoms

  • Most bites from an infected tick develop into a distinctive raised pink or red ‘bulls eye’ rash after 3 to 30 days. It’s usually around 15cm across, but can vary in size.
  • Lyme Disease Rash (NHS)

  • Around a third of people with early stage Lyme Disease don’t develop a rash.
  • Further symptoms may develop 3 to 30 days after being bitten by an infected ticks, which can include flu-like symptoms such as: fatigue (tiredness), muscle and joint pain, headaches, fever or neck stiffness. If untreated some people can develop more serious problems affecting the joints, nerves and heart.

Treatment –  See your GP if you find the distinctive bull’s eye rash from an infected bite, or develop the later symptoms of the disease.

For more information please chat to a ranger or visit NHS Direct Website.

Acting Senior Ranger Stuart

Posted in Aldershot Urban Extension, Ash Lock, Blackwater Meadows, Blackwater Reach, BV Path, BVR & A31, Conservation, Covebrook, Farnham Quarry / Tices, Frimley Hatches, Gerry's Copse, Grant's Moor, Hawley Meadow, Moor Green Lakes, Rowhill, Southwoood, Swan Lake Park, Volunteers, Wellesley Woodlands | Tagged | Leave a comment

River Restoration at Hawley Meadows – 5 years on

Back in 2012 a small willow tipped over into the River Blackwater at Hawley Meadows. Usually we retain trees in the channel as they help to reduce flooding by slowing down the flow and also increase biodiversity. Working with the Environment Agency we have carried out several river restoration projects on Hawley Meadows and the wider River Blackwater, including installing wood in the channel and creating riffles for fish breeding.

Willow tips over into channel in 2012

In this case, with the location of the fallen tree up-stream of the bridge by the car park, we were concerned about the risk of undermining the western bridge pier. This proved correct, when a month later the river had already scoured out behind the tree and incised the river bank, so we booked in a task.

Chris came out and lent a hand as I chainsawed off the fallen tree in the river, then fixed the tree root-plate back in place. We also pegged in hawthorn faggots. These bundles of brash help to secure the bank and slow down the river flow to promote settling of sediment.

Fixing faggots in the channel

 

Chris installing faggots

Last week during our River Restoration Training from Steve, I was very pleased to see our efforts have worked, as the eroded bank has now reformed and stabilised with vegetation protecting the bridge pier.

Newly built up bank this year

On the week beginning 18th September we’ll be hosting River’s Week, and inviting people to join us in improving the biodiversity of the River Blackwater. Watch this space for more details nearer the time.

Acting Senior Ranger Stuart

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Finchampsteads Finest Entomologists

In June, 34 children and 6 adults from Finchampstead Primary School joined Tony, Bobbie and I at Moor Green Lakes for an educational visit. The first activity of the day, led by Assistant Ranger Bobbie and volunteer Tony, saw the children pond dipping for insects in the lake. Using trays, our junior entomologists were able to identify:

Outside of the water, I was leading the children in further bug hunting using nets to capture creepy crawlies from the meadow. With their new found love of bugs and a keen eye, the children were able to find:

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The tranquility that is Moor Green Lakes

“I just wanted to say a great big thank you to you and your team for the wonderful day you organised for us at Moor Green Lakes. The children had a whale of a time and it was fantastic to see them enjoying our natural surroundings and asking such interesting questions. Since we’ve been back at school, they have used the day as a basis for English, geography, and science lessons and it has been extremely helpful in bringing the learning to life. Next week I have an art lesson planned on drawing dragonflies and wildflowers.

Hopefully, this will be a memory that stays with them for the rest of their lives about the importance of nature and conservation work. Thank you once again to the whole team for all your hard work and the interesting information you shared with us. It was a wonderful day.” – Sarah Morris, Headteacher

From myself, many thanks to the school, teachers, parent helpers, and children for joining us. Also, a huge thank you to Bobbie and Tony for their help on the day. We hope it has inspired everyone involved to appreciate the nature all around them.

Acting Ranger Jenny

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Children find watery insects at Talavera 

Today Laura, I and Shirley the gull, are at Talavera Infant & Junior School Summer Fayre showing off minibeasts pond-dipped from Moor Green Lakes.

Shirley you can’t be serious?

It was interesting to find some of our more unusual minibeasts including water stick insects, which prefer more acidic water like that found at Moor Green Lakes.

Water Stick Insect

Acting Senior Ranger Stuart

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Giving Brookfield the barber shop treatment.

Happy Friday everyone !

As the title suggests we gave Brookfield a short back and sides which we noticed needed doing after responding to a comment regarding a fallen willow tree. The paths connectivity to lakeside has now improved for pedestrians, cyclists and joggers.

Paul showed me how it was done with the hedge cutter and now I feel like I have arms like Popeye trying to keep up with him ! However I was in my element with the leaf blower !

Once we finished we noticed this little chap giving us his feedback, thanks Robin !

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If your wondering what to do this weekend why not have a walk to admire our work, a passing jogger certainly approved. If your feeling a little more adventurous there is a task on Sunday at Moor Green Lakes pulling Ragwort !

Thank you so much Paul for your hard work today, a pleasure to work with as always

Assistant Ranger Bobbie Withers

 

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