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                                Newsletter - Spring 2017

Spring brings with it the promise of renewal and new life. We shall indeed need positive things to think about after the many events of 2016 and the New Year, when even the BBC’s Radio 4 decided to replace the normally optimistic Gardeners’ Question Time on New Year’s Day with a reading of TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, with its pessimistic assertion that “I think we are in rats’ alley Where the dead men lost their bones”. The recent scientific findings that the Artic sea ice is melting even faster to its lowest ever recorded level under the influence of global climate change underline the need for whatever positive steps we can take to protect our precious natural environment. Fortunately there are several positive activities on our own agenda for you to take part in this Spring. Indoors we have a presentation on Wednesday 22nd February by Dunnington’s own Guy Mandziuk on his positive experiences in volunteering to help rebuild areas devastated by natural disasters. We can also enjoy on Monday 20th March Terry Weston’s photographic exploration of the splendours of the wildlife of Namibia. In addition, on Wednesday 24th May, Jonathan Dent, the Nature Reserve Manager of the St Nicholas Field Nature Reserve in York, will be relating how the wasteland of a local urban tip has been steadily transformed into an area thriving with many native species of flora and fauna. Outdoors, we have a similar opportunity on Saturday 8th April to appreciate the regenerative properties of nature at the Barlow Mound Nature Reserve that has been formed from the waste that could not be re-cycled from the adjacent Drax Powerstation, which we will also be visiting. And on Saturday 3rd June, there is the chance for more cycling ourselves locally, this time to the historic and beautiful Ellerton and Aughton Churches.

 

Outdoors there is also the opportunity for you to take part in our monthly Conservation Working Parties, whose dates are given overleaf. We have been examining sites for the possible development of attractive glades within Hagg Wood, as well as our existing Crater area, which itself has benefited from the opening up of its canopy by the removal of several conifers. The flourishing of primroses, wood anemone, bluebells. wood sorrel, and other native ancient woodland indicator species, and increasing the attractiveness to birdlife, butterflies and many other native pollinators of these areas, have been the focus of our discussions in recent months with Urban Buzz, York, the Butterfly Conservation and our own ecological adviser, Martin Hammond. Like the magnificent display of foxgloves last Autumn, there are both short-term benefits from improving the wood’s natural environment, and also much to be gained for the longer term.

 

Not least there is the chance for you to appreciate the joys of Spring within Hagg Wood by wandering along its many paths. We have been productively using some of the funds we have been given by generous donations, including from the estate of one of our own founding members, Barbare Pyrah, including to fund the work of The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) to clear further parts of the Bluebell Area in Hagg Wood of invasive brambles. This should facilitate an even more magnificent display of bluebells this Spring than last year. There is no simple solution unfortunately to some paths becoming boggy within the wood, without undesirably resorting to laying down hardcore, when the surrounding water table is high, except for walkers themselves spending a moderate sum on a good pair of wellies. Our improvements in clearing along Chamber’s Way last year nevertheless show what can be done in parts of the wood, both in improving the pathway and in promoting the adjacent display of wild flowers. So do support us in our positive activities, by putting the above dates in your 2017 diary.

 

 

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