Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A few volunteers can make a big impact

Volunteering with the LWVP covers many different activities some involving physical work and others following people's particular interest such as photography. If you are interested in the environment and the local area you might have skills that you can contribute to the project or you might want to come along to learn new skills or to meet new people.
The LWVP practical group meets once a week on alternate Wednesdays and Thursdays at various sites in the valley but mainly at the two nature reserves Standlake Common and Rushy Common.
Out with the practical team Ian said, 'It is constantly amazing what a small gang can achieve in a few hours'. And it certainly has only been a few hours in this recent hot weather.
Much of the work recently has been at Standlake Common Nature Reserve. Here are Luke and Louise learning to use Austrian scythes which were brilliant for clearing the southern shore of docks before the ground was prepared for the green hay spreading the following week.

 Clearing pollarded willow logs from a ditch, pulling young willows encroaching on the lake shore and clearing the ever present ragwort have been other useful jobs tackled by the group in recent weeks.

That is all fairly typical work for a practical volunteer group so it was interesting to tackle a different type of job; measuring up to make a new sluice valve with Daryl from the Environment Agency. The aim of the sluice is to be able to have some control over the flow of water between the Thames and the reserve in times of average water levels. When the Thames floods there is nothing we can do to control it as it just pours over the bank.
Ian, a retired mecganical engineer, is project manager and was in charge of the technical drawing that day.

Matthew and Diego took turns to learn how to use the level. Just keep that measuring pole upright Matthew.

One week we found a nice shady location to work in; clearing the footpath between Standlake and Newbridge. Even so a couple of hours was enough and we were glad to finish by lunchtime.

If you would like more information about joining the practical work group or working on another volunteering project please contact me
email:  or call 01865 815426.


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