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Early May

May 2015
Our 26 year old woodland comes into bloom and leaf once again and we continue to monitor its condition, enhance its biodiversity and improve its potential as a rich English Woodland.

Coppicing, thinning, replanting trees and introducing ground flora are some of the ways we do this. We also collaborate with our friends at the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust, together with their supporters and guardians to ensure that together we work towards best possible practice.

Much to do - 
Each season brings a change in the environmental setting and the practices carried out; the woodland attracts many people for a variety of reasons.

Currently, Dan is monitoring 10 bird boxes, installed in 2013, and will provide us with an up to date report of results so far.

George and Ciaran have helped the Rangers plant some acquired hazel trees (below)

The B&BCWT set up a woodland plant survey session with Eleanor Cohn

Rangers and BPN Staff (Birmingham Parks and Nurseries) are monitoring the area and ensuring it is kept litter free.

Birmingham University carry out a bird ringing project each year (results published here as they occur)

Meanwhile the trees flourish, the plants blossom, the song birds sing, the mice scuttle and scurry (wood-mouse observed in the dead hedging on 28th April), Owls hoot and hunt, woodpeckers explore and the Chiffchaffs chiff-chaff.
George planting hazel in open spaces; should be okay in partial shade
Flower surveying with Sara and Eleanor from the Wildlife Trust
Herb Robert growing well
Ciaran planting hazel
Early Summer regrowth, 5 years from coppicing


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Highbury Park Friends January 2017 newsletter

Join Highbury Park Friends to get up to date information about this wonderful park - follow the link above for the latest newsletter.

There's so much going on already and this is set to increase as the Chamberlain Highbury Trust look to bring many new and exciting ideas to the Highbury estate and adjoining park land. Check out their website on the links below

Weekly and monthly activities incuding 'Woodland Wednesdays' with the Rangers and B&BCWT, supported by NIA (Nature Improvement Area) funding.

Woodland Play after school club, every Wednesday at the Orchard - Highbury Orchard Community Interest Company oversee this -

A visiting student from Virginia asks -

Q1 What do you think are the biggest benefits of teaching and using traditional woodland management techniques in city parks?
A1. The essence of a Ranger’s role is to engage the community at large with the aim of encouraging more people to use parks and green spaces. Therefore a range of themes, topics and activities are employed to meet the broad interests and diverse nature of the public, involving people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities etc. 
The ‘woodland’ theme seems to have universal appeal and is steeped in history, ecology, science, spirituality, mythology and culturally, much more.
So generally we can assume people want to learn something new, make something using natural resources and have an involvement in their local green space, so that a few basic skills, some knowledge and a morsel of understanding related to ecological principles allows people to feel good about themselves and enables them to share these good feelings, acquired skills and gained knowledge with…

Ecotones and Succession = TENSION

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The word ecotone was coined from a combination of eco(logy) plus -tone, from the Greek tonos or tension – in other words, a place where ecologies are in tension. (Wiki)

Ecotones are generally recognised for ecological richness and a good place to observe the 'tensions' and interactions between certain animals and plants.

A woodland edge for example is often regarded as the richest part of a woodland, especially if the edge is bordered by grassland meadow or water.

The Rea Valley in this regard is a wonderful mix of urban ecosystems and ecotones, and one of my favourite locations is the developing oak woodland at the edge of Holders Woods. Undoubtedly the result of acorn planting Jays, we find oaks ranging from year 1 to year 50, but with a majority of young trees around 10-20 years, sugge…