SustainIt volunteer day with Avon Wildlife Trust
18 December 2014 by Chris McDonald
Avon Wildlife Trust are in the process of creating a new nature reserve ‘the Bennett’s Patch and White's Paddock Reserve’ in the Avon Gorge, as part of celebrations marking Bristol’s year as European Green Capital in 2015. They are transforming a 12-acre neglected former sports facility into a wildlife haven of wildflower meadows, native woodland and ponds.
The Avon Gorge is an essential wildlife corridor for foraging species including several species of bat and is home to badgers, hedgehogs, slow worms and some truly unique plant species.
The day began with introductions, a gentle stroll around the reserve and a bit of background on the area. We then had various demonstrations, which attempted to teach us how to use a selection of rather sharp looking tools. I opted for the scythe. We were then escorted to an area which looked like a jungle of thorns and were politely asked to hack away until it was all gone.
After around 3 hours of very strenuous swinging the jungle had been flattened and it was time for lunch. The afternoon consisted of more bramble clearance, where both my pace and enthusiasm deteriorated slowly, followed by a short stint on the brush cutter – a large petrol operated machine. During the day I met some great people, got a good workout and a bit of a winter sun tan (the sun was out all day). The next day I was very stiff but felt a great sense of achievement.
Each year SustainIt encourage each member of staff to volunteer for 2 days. We aim to ensure that the projects undertaken are local and related to wider sustainability issues. In the past we have helped organisations such as Fairtrade Wales and Working Knowledge.