Welcome to the Green Volunteers Blog, the place to check out what the Green Team has been up to! If you've been involved in Green Volunteers, send us your story ...
Been on a Green Team project in the past? Read about the Green Team in previous years (all the way back to the year 2000!)
On Sunday 27th January the Green Team visited Butterdean Wood, near Gladsmuir. When we arrived we met Leigh, the ranger, and she gave us a brief history of the wood and then showed us what we would be doing first. The first task was to clear a muddy path and lay type one gravel on top. The importance of our work was clear when we saw how EXTREMELY muddy the path was and many of us bore the evidence of this by the time we had finished. The next challenge we faced was to transport the gravel from a 20 tonne pile at the entrance to the wood in wheelbarrows to the area of path we were working on. Everyone worked hard and by the time lunchtime came, we were practically running to the mini van to get our lunches.
During lunch we played a couple of games before returning to our path. With another burst of energy we finished the section of path we were walking on and everyone felt a great sense of achievement! Unfortunately we didnít have time to go and see the badger set but we finished off with a quick game that involved us memorising and replicating a grid of plants. Finally, we did our reflections and everyone agreed that the path looked great and we had lucked out with the weather. All-in-all, we had a great day at Butterdean and bonded well as a team.
My favourite thing about the Green Team expedition was the fire. At the end of a hard day of moving and replanting trees, lopping and tending to the orchard it was lovely to be able to sit down and cook some bread over the fire before going home.
Like all other Green Team expeditions I had a great time and enjoyed being outside with my friends and complete strangers alike!
In February the Green Team visited Levenhall Links in East Lothian. It was a very snowy day and all the participants were wrapped up warmly and eager to get to work. This project involved clearing paths and cutting down overgrown trees. We set out at ten o'clock and took a bus trip to Levenhall Links where there were amazing views surrounding us. The local countryside ranger told us about the surrounding areas and gave us a small tour and told a bit about the habitat. We then set out to work where about twelve of us spanned the area cutting down overgrown bushes, and clearing paths using saws and loppers. After about two hours of hard work the surrounding area looked very different from when we started. We stopped and had a small lunch break and did a few activities. We then went back to work equipped with our tools and eager to finish the job that we started. In between we had a small tea break with biscuits. And did a couple more activities. We left Levenhall Links feeling like we had contributed to the local area, and had really enjoyed ourselves.
Today with the Green Team I visited the Hermitage of Braid. Being only on my second day I was relieved to see a few familiar faces and appreciated the ice-breaking activities that started off the day. We split into groups to carry out our tasks and I volunteered to work digging a drainage ditch until lunch, a job that sounds rather tiring and boring but in which I found a sort of enthusiasm for, as our progress was easy to see. After lunch we swapped around with activities and eventually everybody was working on everything, taking breaks from digging to go and pour gravel or help move heavy logs.
We finished our tasks
rather early and so for the last hour or so we split into groups and did Art Commissions,
the result of which was a racetrack, an ornamental chair and a depiction of the
Spanish Civil war using wood.
7th April we went to Penicuik Lost Garden; it is called "lost" because
it used to be a garden in Victorian times but became neglected in later years.
Work is now being done to restore it to its original condition. We split into
four groups: each group had the following tasks; digging out a pond; digging over
the vegetable patch; building a "dead fence"; and removing an old fence.
I worked on the vegetable patch in the morning and helped build the fence in the
afternoon. A "dead" fence is made out of old branches and logs; these
are piled up
Today with the Green Team I was working with a rather large group of 13 people on a particularly special expedition to Hopetoun House, a beautiful, almost historic site. We spent the greater half of the day cutting down Rhododenron just behind the house itself to avoid the plant further invading the space in the grounds. We succeeded in clearing a huge space of Rhododedron and also in creating a huge bonfire to burn all the spare branches and leaves that were cut down so as not to clutter the space. Personally I enjoyed seeing the red deer that are kept on the grounds as I have never seen one up close and it was fascinating to learn about the different types of deer in Britain. Overall this expedition was probably my favourite of the three I have done with the Green Team and it was nice to meet some new people as well as seeing familiar faces.
On Saturday 27 April 2013, the Green Angels went to Lord Ancrums Wood at Newbattle Abbey to help the Forestry Commission. We went into the woods where the Forest Ranger had already started a fire going. We had shovels, saws and loppers to help us with the challenge ahead. The Ranger explained that we had to clear the area we were working on of privet, cutting them into manageable pieces to throw onto the fire, which gave us great heat. After we had cleared one part of the bushes away, we split into two groups; one group continued clearing the area while the other started planting trees. This involved digging a hole, putting the young tree into the hole with a stake beside it and a protector around it Ė we even gave our trees names before we planted them!
After all the trees were planted, we then helped Louisa start a little fire for the storm kettle so we could have hot drinks. While we were waiting on the water boiling, Rosemary showed us how to make chocolate cake in an orange and cook chocolate with banana in their skins. These then went into the fire and were ready round about the same time as the hot drinks. Patrycja and I preferred the chocolate bananas to the orange cake (but the cake was still yummy!)
We then played a game of 123 Commando which is a type of hide & seek. We then concluded our day by sharing what we liked and disliked, and what could be improved next time.
The Green Team (Edinburgh & Lothians) Ltd is a charity registered in Scotland SCO29319