Last Tuesday, another gloriously sunny and hot day, we had an excellent group of students from Berwick Middle School visit the Reserve to get stuck into litter collection and invasive plant clearance. These activities counted towards the student’s John Muir Award, the educational initiative of the John Muir Trust. This is a fantastic way for young people to learn about conservation and how they can care for their natural environment.
The day began with an introduction to the Reserve, then straight into a litter pick around the East shore of Budle Bay. The students saw why it is important to carry out regular litter picks in tidal areas, as we filled many bags with parts of glass bottles, pieces of plastic and old fishing nets – they also found some more ‘interesting’ rubbish such as half an old bell!
Students collecting litter at Budle Bay
After lunch, it was straight back to Budle Bay – this time to begin clearing an invasive species of cordgrass, Spartina anglica. This species, which is very vigorous and pushes out native saltmarsh communities, is a hybrid with our native cordgrass and an introduced species of cordgrass from America. The hybrid grows very quickly and takes over the mudflats, so removes habitat for geese and wading birds which use the Reserve to feed and roost.
Digging up the Spartina - very muddy business!
Thankfully, the sun had disappeared for the afternoon so it was cooler for digging! Spartina is quite difficult to clear, requiring digging underneath the deep, dense roots which need removed completely or the plant will continue to grow. The plants were collected in large bags which were dragged up to the lay-by, which the students enjoyed very much!
Pulling a large bag full of Spartina bag up the bank - hard work!!
This is the 9th year that students from Berwick Middle School have come to the Reserve to carry out activities towards their John Muir Award, and since then the extent of the Spartina has reduced. We’re so grateful to the school and students for coming to help us out, and we’re very happy to be able to offer activities like this to local groups.
If you work with school or volunteer groups and are interested in carrying out projects on Lindisfarne NNR, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – tel. 01289 381470 to speak to a member of Reserve staff.