Variety is the Spice of Life!

Clare Sterling

This weeks blog will be focusing on typical events and the characters I meet within the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust...

Hi everyone, welcome to this week’s blog. I’ll be focusing on typical events and the characters I meet within the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust (LWT)….

Monday

I research information to include within display cards for the Love Lincolnshire Plants (LLP) initiative – 30 Inspirational Plants. The task combines the plant’s natural history with the collector’s story, imagery and fascinating plant-related facts.

I also meet Mark (Conservation Officer). It’s especially inspirational as Mark’s left an IT career to pursue a vocation within conservation. Sounds familiar? Our discussion confirms it can be a difficult field to enter, BUT, so very worthwhile.

Tuesday

A site visit to Willow Tree Fen Reserve as part of the South Lincolnshire Fenlands Partnership meeting. A collaboration between LWT, landowners, farm tenants, industry and the local community. The aim is to create a sustainably managed environment for the mutual benefit of wildlife and people.

We also meet Colin, a keen member of LWT. Colin asks for advice to create a wildlife friendly zone around a former commercial fishing lake. Catherine and I, listen, take notes and investigate the site. Tammy (Head of Conservation) is on-hand to supervise. One site management plan coming up ASAP – NO PRESSURE!

Wednesday

We collect and record plants with Aidan (LLP Projects Officer). It’s a useful opportunity to refresh my skills. I take great care to avoid damaging a sample, whilst Catherine notes the specimen data. Remember it’s a wildflower and not just any old weed! The final exhibits will be displayed in London’s Natural History Museum and Horncastle’s Sir Joseph Banks Centre.

We visit the Sir Joseph Banks Society (SJBS). Aidan demonstrates the specimen freezing process. We also meet the staff and volunteers who are busy creating a digital archive. All samples are databased, scanned and mounted to educate future generations. Side note - part of the SJBS building was my mum’s childhood home – a small world indeed.

Scything demo

Thursday

Jedi Master Mark is running a scything workshop for an Ancaster-based volunteer group. Catherine and I also join-in as we’re keen to learn new skills. We receive a safety brief and risk assessment. We learn the history, terminology, maintenance and methodology of scything. I now know a snath (long shaft) from a toe (blade edge). It’s all very therapeutic, the swishing of metal on long grass against the backdrop of the natural world. Also, a very useful lesson if my lawnmower breaks down! We finish the day with some botanical consolidation at Red Hill Reserve, whilst enjoying the visual delights of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Friday

We’re collecting and recording plants again, this time with Debbie (local herbalist and SJBS volunteer). Debbie explains that Yarrow was used on Roman battlefields to treat bleeding and has therefore, long been considered a soldier’s herb. Debbie’s great passion and knowledge of botany is something for us to aspire towards.

The diverse nature of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s work never ceases to amaze me!

Simon