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Conservation week

Pupils from Palace Fields Primary School participate in vital conservation project

Week 10: Conservation & community week is one of my favourite weeks on the Challenger Troop core programme. This is the week when we give back to the community and play a part in being good citizens. Over the last 9 weeks, we have been fortunate enough to be able to take the mini troopers to a variety of different locations on their training days. We are enormously grateful for the support of Halton Borough Council who have let us use the picturesque Wigg Island Community Park; Cheshire Scouts Community for letting us use Forest Camp Activity Centre, and you have heard how we have been fortunate enough to use Delamere Forest on a number of occasions.

Creating a wetland for a rare jumping spider

For their conservation week project, the mini troopers would be working with rangers from Delamere Forest, helping out on a very exciting project called The Lost Mosses of Delamere. We were joined by a very special guest Katie Piercey, Delamere Mossland Officer from the Cheshire Wildlife Trust who explained to the mini troopers the value of the work they would be doing to support this Project. Katie explained to the mini troopers that they need to clear the area of trees, bracken and other low level scrub species so that this will encourage the water levels to rise creating a wet mossland area which will allow many species to thrive. In particular, this new habitat will encourage the return of wildlife and other plant species that have not been seen in Delamere since 2003, including the rare white-faced darter dragonfly and a jumping spider thought only to live in Delamere and one other place in Scotland. The mini troopers at this point were super excited, eager to explore and get to work.

palace fields with Delamere Mossland Officer

Safety first

We went over to the site for a safety briefing where Sgt Bussell showed us how to hold and use the tools correctly before splitting into smaller working groups. One group was tasked with using saws to cut down any little trees and remove any tree stumps out of the ground; the other group was tasked with using the loppers to cut away any weeds, shrubs and plants whilst the third group were the the ‘movers’. Their job was to collect anything that the other two teams had cut down. The weather was good and the sun was shining brightly. The mini troopers got stuck in and they worked hard from the outset.

Conservation Delamere

With the twins both using a saw, they chose a tree each and as always, turned it into a competition. The movers worked hard picking up all the tree stumps, logs and the many branches lying around.

Myself and JT picked up a huge tree and we carried it to the dumping pile, I felt like superman.” said MM

Understanding the value of the task

“I will bring my foster mum here and show her what we have done and tell her about the dragonflies and show her the spiders,” said HB

Tackling shrubs conservation

“We have been incredibly lucky in Delamere Forest with how well these sites rebound after restoration work. Since the Forestry Commission first started to rewet these ancient mosslands in the late 1990s all kinds of rare and unusual species have reappeared, such as royal fern and the round-leaved sundew. The ongoing partnership work with Challenger Troop participants will hopefully see the return and spread of many more of these amazing species,” said Katie Piercy, Delamere Mossland Officer.

All the mini troopers impressed us this week with their efforts. We watched as they worked in pairs to carry heavy items across the ground. They encouraged one another when they were getting tired. We were all singing motivational songs to keep going and the hard work of the day was all done with smiles. All the mini troopers wanted to know if we would be able to come back to this task again. I am thrilled that they clearly really enjoyed the day and loved exploring the site and the feeling that they were creating a special environment for insects and plants.

Look what i did

If you would like to read previous week’s blogs, please click HERE

If you would like more information on how our programmes, support young people, please call us now 0845 548 5070 or click HERE





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Posted: 22, March, 2016
by Challenger Troop

Sgt Bowen is a Team Instructor in our North West Team. Formerly a Corporal in the Army Recruitment Team, after she had served for over ten years in the British Army Royal Corps of Transport where she was deployed to Germany, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq and the Falkland Islands. She is passionate about making a positive difference to the lives of the young people she works with.

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"Outdoor learning is giving them back their childhood wonder and curiosity at new things, allowing them to experience the marvel of discovery and the learning that comes from taking risks"

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