Noticed or not, not only seasonally, our wildlife and landscapes are changing all the time. Sometimes by our direct action, the uprooting of hedges for example, sometimes due to the weather or diseases like ash dieback, sometimes by accident or as the result of unintended consequences, such as the introduction of foreign species. Grey squirrels ousting native red, mink devastating the water vole population, even our ladybirds are suffering from the presence of their foreign cousins.
The importation of plants can also have an impact. Sycamores are not native trees, though they have been here a long time. Victorian collectors brought back many specimens, such as rhododendrons and fuschias. Some are attractive and controllable, like the giant redwood and monkey puzzle tree established in Fryern Dell, others are highly invasive, Japanese knotweed is a particular problem.
It is not all doom and gloom. Much is being done to protect endangered species like red squirrels, water voles, curlews and other birds at risk. Japanese knotweed can be dealt with by use of powerful herbicides, but not all locations are suitable for this treatment. However trials are being carried out to see if a Japanese insect (Alphalara itadori) can be a successful control agent.
This year our work parties continued during August instead of taking the annual break. Stream bank restoration in Fryern Dell benefiting as a result. Footpath users we hope will approve.
Our next work party will be on 3rd September at 10.00am. We meet at the Fryern Dell balancing pond to continue with the programme of clearing trees from its banks. Again wellies will be a good idea. There is a therapeutic element in felling invasive species, and the enjoyment of fresh air and sociable company are bonuses. We are not exclusive, if anyone wishes to join us, a welcome awaits. Just come at the time. For details of the Thursday work party on 15th September at 2.00pm, please refer to our website.
For information about this and all our activities, or becoming a member, please get in touch with Mick Denness on 01903 745971, or look on our website www.storringtonconservation.org.uk.