Before relaunching Community Ranger activities this Autumn I thought it would be a good opportunity to look back at the last full year of the project. 2019 was a busy year in the life of the Community Ranger project and this is really just a summary of some of the things I got up to. The year started with a brilliant session in the snow at Ash Hill Primary School working with a team of ecologists from Bucks County Council and pupils from the School on the start of a project to restore and manage a large section of the School grounds which is a fantastic piece of precious chalk grassland. This area has now been designated a Local Wildlife Site by BCC which is an exciting development in Micklefield and fantastic for the School.
We held the annual ‘Fiery Scrub’ day in February with support from Nature’s Jewels who came on the day to run craft activities and we moved into the Spring with work on Kingsmead with 60 local children and the held our annual session at Funges Meadow with over 100 parents and pupils from Marsh Infant School.
With the help of many volunteers we continued the development of the Mini-Meadow at Wrights Meadow Centre and planted out over 500 Wildflower plug-plants in Micklefield - sadly some of these areas got mowed soon after but the work continues!
A Community Litter Pick took place in Highfield Wood followed by work in Gomms Wood with local residents and a team from Red Kite and more Wildflowers were planted locally with the help of Wycombe Marsh Community Environment Group. I was back at Ash Hill School in June for a ‘BioBlitz’ and pupils again worked with the team of BCC ecologists and 2 classes were able to survey the Chalk Grassland in the woods and meadows - despite the atrocious weather - and I was able to talk to many other pupils and discuss the importance of local habitats and how they can help look after them.
We also had our annual ‘Orchid Walk’ in Micklefield which was very well received by those who came along, finding many Common Spotted, Pyramidal and Bee Orchids on Micklefield and Gomm Banks. Further activities went on through the Summer and then on into the Autumn.
A couple of highlights from later in the year were having a wonderful few sessions with pupils from local schools and other volunteers in Wycombe Marsh developing a large wildflower area and maintaining a long stretch of hedgerow. This work with local pupils has made a real impact, both on the environment and the children – ‘Just wanted to say thank you for all of the amazing work which you have done with the school this year. The children have absolutely loved it and learned so much.’ Lyndsey Brown, Loudwater School.
I also started working with a really committed, engaged and hardworking group from the Highcrest Academy Eco-Committee and further projects were planned and delivered by them.
Also in the Autumn the Wright’s Meadow Centre Mini-Copse was planted up with over 25 native trees and a Sculpture making session was held to make more for the trail in Gomms Wood but unfortunately most of these were broken or pulled down shortly after being installed….
As part of the ‘Big Climate Fightback’ campaign, and in alignment with the Marsh and Micklefield Big Local Partnership’s declaration of a Climate Emergency, I took part in a tree-planting session at Kingsmead in partnership with other conservation groups and members of the public. This was hugely successful and attracted both locals and volunteers from wider afield. Just under 500 native-species trees were planted.
The year finished with a Winter Solstice bonfire, poetry reading and walk through Gomm’s Wood to Hills Café for breakfast and carols.
I was lucky to meet and work with so many wonderful people from the local area on the Community Ranger project. We had just over 620 attendees at sessions and events and planted around 900 Wildflower Plug Plants, nearly 250 trees and sowed nearly 2kg of wildflower seed. We cleared loads of rubbish from our local woods, worked in rivers and meadows and did lots of things to really benefit people and place.
Thanks to all who came along to help!