Storrington Conservation Society Newsletter: April 2024

Grass!

We sit on it, walk on it, play on it, cut it and eat it. Just a few of the things we do with the family of plants we know as grass (scientific name Poaceae). One of the most prolific plants on the planet, the grass family includes cereals (eg maize,wheat, rice), bamboos, reeds, natural grasses, pasture grass, cultivated lawn grass and sports turf. In all there are about 12,000 species. The grains we eat are a major source of protein and carbohydrates and amazingly provide about half of our food energy. Bamboo, reeds and straw are used in buildings. Some grasses are used in manufacturing paper, fuel, clothing, matting and baskets. Remarkably, bamboo scaffolding withstands typhoon winds that would destroy steel poles.

Grasses occur in every continent, including Antarctica. They are found in the savannah, prairies, steppes, wetlands, forests and tundra. Many are designed to cope with frequent grazing and mowing, though some have hardened blades to discourage grazing and can cut skin. Some are especially adapted to hot and some to cold environments.

Fossils show grasses have been around for at least 100 million years. Fossilised dinosaur dung has been found to include grass, so not only current widlife, such as mammals as well as butterflies, moths and grasshoppers, have relied on grass as a food source.
So it has a huge range of uses, including providing playing surfaces for many sports, it also helps erosion control. More than this it has great natural beauty, not only in ornamental grasses in gardens. For example, the flower heads of tall grass have a delicate symmetry, the wind blowing over a field of wheat produces waves of dark and light, wonder at the many shades of green in meadows. Be thankful for the glories of grass. It is a natural marvel we take for granted, but it is a treasure to be conserved, as we depend on it for so much.

Work parties continue. On Saturday 6th April we met in the Leisure Centre Car Park for our annual clearance of litter and rubbish alongside paths and byways in the village. The usual collection of packaging, bottles, cans and plastics were sorted for recycling or disposal. We next meet a week earlier than planned on Saturday 27th April at 10.00 in the Library Car Park for another of our regular tasks, the clearance of the banks and streams in readiness for the duck race on 28th. Come and join the fun, plus coffe break, wellies and gardening clothes advisable.

Storrington Conservation Society - after the clear up

For information about this and our other activities, or on becoming a member, or offering advice, please get in touch with Chairman Mick Denness on 01903 745971, or see our website: www.storringtonconservation.org.uk


Submitted to the Storrington Community Website using the News Item contact form.

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