Do your little bit from home
The coronavirus has pressed the pause button on our volunteer days here in Snowdonia but there will come a time when we will return to the mountains, hills, forests, beaches and bogs. Until that time comes, we can all get involved in our own small way with some conservation in our local areas.
For many of us lockdown has given us more free time than we are used to, and several have chosen to spend this time in the green spaces in our local communities. This was especially true at the beginning of lockdown where that once daily walk, run or cycle was something to be savoured. We have been given time to take notice of the things that are often lost amongst our busy lives; the sound of the cuckoo and the blooming of flowers all around us.
You may have recently gained your own new-found appreciation for what is on your doorstep, discovering new trails and paying closer attention to the wonder of nature around you. This new awareness of what is around us can be put to good use. We can become custodians of our very own local communities. After all, no one knows an area better than the people who live there.
While maintaining the mountain footpaths is not something you can participate in right now, there are a few volunteer tasks that you can still get involved with. One of the volunteer activities that we would usually be taking part in at this time of year would be management of the invasive species Himalayan balsam. This plant is taking over our watercourse and spreading quickly into our wider communities.
You may find that this plant is already growing in your local community. You may have walked past it on your daily walk. The plant can be easily pulled out of the ground thanks to its shallow roots and a few minutes of pulling a day could potentially make a big difference. This plant will become much more noticeable in upcoming weeks as it begins to flower with bright pink flowers and a strong sickly scent. You can find further details on Himalayan balsam on our website. It is important to note that if the plant is growing on private land that permission from the landowner is required before any pulling can take place.
Another activity we would usually be doing at this time of year is the mapping or recording of flora and fauna, and you can get involved too! You may have heard of species being spotted in areas where they have not been seen in many years. Indeed, a local example is increased sightings of the red squirrel in the northern areas of Gwynedd.
Taking note of what is happening in your local area can be really valuable in terms of data gathering. In the instance of invasive species this allows us to plan how to manage the spread based on the distribution. A photo and a grid reference is all that is needed to submit data to the North Wales Recording Centre – Cofnod.
We look forward to a time when you can join us once more on our volunteer days, until then stay safe.