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Autumn update - Orkney Woodland Project
by Jenny Taylor - 13:34 on 14 October 2011
Well, it must be autumn, because my house has been full of trays and trays of drying tree seeds - especially the tiny brown downy birch seeds and the lovely red rowan berries. For some reason I find seeds and fruits fascinating - I love the many ways in which they disperse and the ways in which they are put together. While collecting wild rose hips, I always get drawn into the intriguing sideline of trying to identify our native rose species. All in all, there are few more enjoyable jobs than being out on a perfect autumn day, in a beautiful part of the County, collecting seeds!
Birch seed, Jenny Taylor
Most of the seed I collect gets sent to a nursery to grow on for local projects, giving us good plants of local provenance to be used in local woodland schemes. Some I keep to pass onto anyone who wants to grow locally and a bit for myself too. The micropropagation of some of our native aspen trees has also been successful and we now have a stock of 2000 plants to go into suitable projects.
Rowan berries, Jenny Taylor
The demand for these local provenance trees continues to be high too, through an assortment of projects. We've just been successful in getting another year of funding from the Woodland Trust Scotland which will pay for trees for a variety of schools, community and small private projects. This money made such a difference this year with so many good projects coming forward and some really enjoyable planting days. This autumn will see more planting in school and play areas and then a big push again next spring. So if anyone has any projects in mind, please do get in touch.
In addition, a special new grant for the Northern and Western Isles has just been announced. This carries a much better level of grant than the previous standard grant, so I am really hoping this will encourage more people to plant some new areas of native woodland.
Please get in touch with me for further details.
I've also been busy going into schools too to talk about autumn in the woods - whilst our autumn colours may be a bit disappointing, the children are always excellent at finding seeds and fruits and fungi and it's often surprising what can be found in just a small area of trees.
Photo by Jenny Taylor
Meanwhile I'm completing a new management plan for Happy Valley where an assortment of work is planned. However, everyone is always aware that a gentle touch is needed there to keep its very special, magical atmosphere. The Friends of Happy Valley will be meeting again soon and we are always looking for new folk to come along and help in all sorts of different ways. (We had several sessions this year cutting back the invasive salmonberry, which was a great achievement).
So over the next few weeks I will be visiting sites, helping to plant trees and then knuckling down to some rather tedious grant applications ready for next spring.
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