Tuesday 16 February 2016

Junior Rangers back out and about

Junior Rangers had their first session of 2016 last Saturday with the task of tree planting in Coreknowe. Here we are creating a small area of young native woodland just by the Devil's Beef Tub.

The new native woodland is in this valley alongside the burn

This time we were accompanied by a film crew, making a film to celebrate Borders Forest Trusts 20th anniversary, which will be shown in the Scottish Parliament on the 2nd March.

I was worried no one would want to talk to the camera, but instead there was a queue of those eager to share their experience as life as a Junior Ranger!

We were doing what is called 'beating up' - that is replacing any trees that didn't survive, in an area previously planted.

Tree spears!!

Volunteers had already been through and angled the tree tubes where a new tree was required. So all we had to do was find the angled tubes, plant a tree and replace the tree guard. We were planting Rowan and Birch and we planted 70 trees that day.

There is a high density of bracken in Coreknowe, which as well as competing and shading out the trees, provides cover for the deer to browse undisturbed; two factors which greatly reduce the chance of young trees getting away.  So we'll definitely be back in the spring to bash some bracken and help give the trees we planted a good head start.

End of the day ...happy planters!

Ali Murfitt
Community and Education Officer

Thursday 11 February 2016

Sharing Skills for Outdoor Learning

We now have a varied programme of outdoor learning at Corehead Farm, with Adventure clubs, Junior Rangers, School visits and family activities.
Thinking up new activities and ideas to run is a very rewarding challenge!

Luckily there is a really supportive network of people working in the outdoors, supported by the Forestry Commission called  'Outdoor and Woodland Learning Scotland' or 'OWL'

Borders Forest Trust attends local OWL meetings, where there is a chance to share what we are doing with other organisations, learn about new opportunities such as funds or local events and in the afternoon share skills.

Last week, I was over in Mabie Forest, where we did a spot of winter tree identification

Looking at tree buds - a usual aid to tree identification in winter

and had a go at tying  some different knots. These techniques will be passed on to Junior Rangers when we come to build our shelters at Corehead! 

Round Turn and Two Half Hitches!

Its really inspiring to see what other charities and trusts are up to. Earlier in the year I took a holiday up to Abriachan Forest Trust. to attend a weekend OWL event focused on winter skills and mammal tracking.

 As we embark on fund-raising for our log cabin project at Corehead, its interesting to see other buildings and structures used for outdoor learning. 

Classroom in the woods!
'Tree House' in a cleared patch of conifers
The green-woodwork shed
Round house in the making

I learn a range of skills, including making torches, with pine resin and bees wax 

Fire lighting and the art of whittling a 'feather stick' (not easy!)

and an introduction to tracking mammals 

Who's print is this!!? 

We have a range of activities coming up at Corehead Farm,  so do book on and come along to have fun in the outdoors. 

Ali Murfitt
Community and Education Officer