By Louise Barnetson
Our amazing volunteers planted trees and carried out other important wildlife habitat management work at two sites in West Itchenor and Earnley on the last Friday of February and the first Friday of March.
On Friday 25th Feb, we had 4 hard working volunteers join us at West Itchenor pond to plant a hedge along a border of the pond. The soil was to die for, rich, organic, leaf mould that was just waiting for our spades. We planted 124 native trees made up of seven species – Hornbeam, Grey Willow, Rowan, English Oak, Alder, Beech and Aspen. We got nicely muddy wading to the planting site and enjoyed the sound and sight of Large Spotted Woodpeckers, Blue tits, flowering Marsh marigolds and Snowdrops.
The new saplings were planted alongside an impressive old oak tree, measured at 3.9m in girth, and totally hollow in the trunk but still very much alive.
On Friday 4th March, we had 6 volunteers help us at the wonderfully-named Hedgehog Hall Pond, on a cold windy day to plant a row of around 20-30 trees along the edges of the pond and to carry out a floral survey to see how the pond has responded to the work we have carried out. We identified 43 different plants and unfortunately also found a non-native invasive species on the pond that we have informed the Environment Agency (EA) about. The Azolla fern is an issue as it competes out other wetland plants and covers the water surface and deoxygenates it. Hopefully we can find a way to remove it.
Please keep an eye on our What's On page for upcoming volunteer work parties where you can get involved in helping local wildlife: https://www.mwhg.org.uk/whats-on.
We have plenty going on throughout March and we would love your help!
We would like to thank The Woodger Trust for funding this work and local companies Lewis Brownlee Financial Services and John Wiley & Sons Ltd for their generous donations to help pay for biodegrade tree guards and bamboo canes, some of which were used at Hedgehog Hall. The plastic guards used at West Itchenor were recycled guards and will be removed in due course. We try to avoid adding plastic to the environment wherever possible.