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Wildlife connections - "Modern life is such that it can be hard to see beyond the present"

 (Rob Cowen - Common Ground)
The Brockley Oak at Brockley Grove, Holders Fields
Rob Cowan's early words in 'Common Ground' resonate with many of us as we struggle to come to terms with 'life's meaning'. We are provoked to read on in search of 'the way' forward, an answer maybe or a coping mechanism; 'Common Ground' encourages us to observe the detail around us and to connect with our local green space.

The map of Edge-land at the beginning of the book provides a simplified snapshot of space around Bilton in Yorkshire, but it could be anywhere, a somewhat timeless image that almost everyone can imagine and one that virtually anyone can draw, no scale or perspective required. 
From 'Common Ground'
Modern life is an ordeal, and so it was last year and last decade, last century and beyond; life and survival have always been an ordeal, the present is everything, the future a luxury and the past? well, nostalgic for one, and many prominent men and women have very different things to say about the past - 

""Every past is worth condemning." Friedrich Nietzsche"

""Only a good-for-nothing is not interested in his past." Sigmund Freud"

The great oak trees speak a different history, one in which we can delve, with a little insight and observation and portions of time. As we are sensitive to seasonal changes and aware of light and temperature variations, a visit to the local oak tree aids a distraction from modern life and draws us into unspecified realms in time and space. Like us, and all species, trees have a heritage.

natural history carries a somewhat broader significance beyond the human record and is defined by The Free Dictionary -

The study and description of living things and natural objects, especially their origins, evolution, and relationships to one another. Natural history includes the sciences of zoology, mineralogy, geology, and paleontology.



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Highbury Park Friends January 2017 newsletter

http://highburyparkfriends.org.uk/text/newsletter/HPFbulletinjanuary2017.pdf

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

https://chamberlainhighburytrust.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/ChamberlainHighbury/

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 -

http://www.peopleandland.org.uk/wp/?page_id=250

http://www.peopleandland.org.uk/wp/







A visiting student from Virginia asks -

Questions
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. 
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Ecotones and Succession = TENSION

The term 'ecotone' cropped up this week as a Tree Officer colleague and I looked at Holders Woods in an exercise to describe the woodland structure, composition and current management.
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)

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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…