Mid February newsletter.
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Hello everyone

Our AGM/Relaunch event at The Grove in Burscough is now less than two weeks away. We have managed to get coverage in both The Champion and The Ormskirk Advertiser so I am hoping that we will get a decent turn out. Please spread the word wherever you can so we can get as many people along as possible.

Ruth Clarkson has been busy organising a raffle for the event so if you have any suitable prizes that would be really helpful. Please liase with Ruth directly

Graham Clarkson has managed to obtain some Wild Flower seeds which will be available on the evening so look out for those.

Burscough Bake Off?

To help to raise funds and pay for The Grove room hire, we are going to have a refreshments stall, tea, coffee and cake (for dontations). If any of you feel like flinging a victoria sponge in the oven it would make a great contribution to the event. (Please note; any other varietys of scrummy cakes or biscuits would also be greatfully received). Never underestimate the power of cake!

Otter Prints

We recently lowered the levels of water in the ditch that runs alongside the canal. Graham was over there yesterday morning and found these footprints which we believe belong to an otter. Apparently Otters have been seen along the River Douglas so keep a lookout next time you are at the field.

The Presentations

We now have some details about the presentations that will be held at the event. I must thank all those who are giving a presentation, I think it is really going to enhance the event.

Abi Reade - The Tree Bee Society

Abi Reade is one of the founders of The Tree Bee Society CIC, a Burscough based, non-profit organisation who has a core aim of protecting all of Britain’s Honey and Bumblebees. They look to rapidly increase the number of pollinators across the North West of England and do so through their Bee breeding program. They have become known for their International Green Apple Award winning Bumble Bee Rescue and Rehome service, collecting their awards at the Houses of Parliament.

Gaynor Pickering - Permaculture On Burscough Community Farm
  • What is Permaculture
  • The main principles of Permaculture
  • Examples of Permaculture Design
  • How Permaculture is used on Burscough Community Farm
Gaynors presentation will outline what Permaculture is about, it’s main principles and how we have used Permaculture at Burscough Community Farm to help with the design process of different elements of the farm.

Gaynor is one of the founders of Organic Veg Club and has a special interest in Permaculture. She lived in Australia for a while and did her Permaculture Design Course with internationally renowned Permaculture Teacher Geoff Lawton.

Graham Clarkson - Farmland and Birds
  • Why farmland birds are disappearing
  • What we are doing locally
  • What you can see at BCF and the surrounding area
  • Join us on a walk in May or June
Graham has formerly worked for WWT, RSPB, BTCV. He lived in Abu Dhabi working on a McQueen's Bustard breeding project for four years. He has also worked for two summers on a conservation project in Kazhakstan and recently on another conservation project in Madagascar, setting up a breeding centre for Madagascar Pochard, one of rarest birds in the world. With fellow Organic Veg Club member Alan Bedford, he runs the  'Birdwatching and Beyond course at Edge Hill University and is also a founder member of 'West Lancashire Wildlife'. Graham currently runs a small business 'Skein Nature’, a wildlife watching, travel & wildlife gardening company.

Alan Bedford - Small Mammal Monitoring And What It Tells Us

This presentation will attempt to deal with why we would want to monitor small mammal numbers - including at Burscough Community Farm. It will then detail what is involved with the two main methods - direct monitoring (live trapping) and owl pellet analysis. It will illustrate the value of both methods by using data collected from the Trough of Bowland (live trapping) and locally in West Lancashire through both owl pellet analysis and live trapping.

The exhibition display will have a range of traps for people to examine, owl pellets together with identification sheets, examples of dissected pellets and, for those who want to, facilities to dissect pellets themselves There will also be various photos and a display board and information for West Lancashire Wildlife.

Alan is a former environmental lecturer from Edge Hill University and is also one of the founders of West Lancashire Wildlife.

Dr. Susan O’Halloran - The Health Benefits of Horticulture

Susan is a retired doctor. She is a member and regular volunteer for Organic Veg Club and is out on the field in all weathers and will try her hand at most things on the farm. This has led her to appreciate the health benefits of horticulture and she has been looking into these. She will describe some of them and  bring to light her own experience on why she takes time out to work on the land

Neil Hickson - Market Gardening and Community Supported Agriculture
  • What is a Market Garden.
  • Community Supported Agriculture, an alternative food production model
  • The how and why of Organic Veg Club
  • Burscough Community Farm and its future.
Neil Hickson was one of the founders of Organic Veg Club and Burscough Community Farm.

See the web site for timings.

Glorious Days

For the first time in ages we had a wonderful sunny day to start our tree planting. We have got a really interesting selection of trees including Wayfarer Tree, Wild Cherry,Sweet Chestnut, Silver Birch, Guilder Rose, Small Leaved Lime, Alder, plus many others that I cannot remember. 

Barn Update

We have managed to recycle some windowframes to let some light into the barn and we have also installed a very desireable Barn Owl/Kestrel residence in the North East corner of the barn. You can see the entrance just to the right of Graham on the photo. If we do manage to get any occupants it will be great to put a camera up there to see what happens.

Work continues on cutting steel sheets to fit along the sides and our next big job is to fit the large barn doors.

That's it for this week folks. Tomorrow Gaynor will be at the field and is planning to do some more tree planting. I will be there on Monday, Thursday and Sunday of next week starting at 10am.

With kind regards

Neil Hickson

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