5th November, 2016
A volunteer conservation day was organised for the society with the help of an NTU lecturer, Matt Edwards, as a great opportunity to engage in some habitat management on a coastal reserve, working on dune scrub. So on Saturday, 5th November, ConSoc (and Matt Edwards and his team) headed over to Gibraltar Point, a dynamic stretch of unspoilt coastline managed by Lincs Wildlife Trust, located just south of Skegness on the Lincolnshire Coast.
Our group arrived early in the morning to meet up with the Lincs Wildlife Trust Reserve manager for him to show us the ropes and get the newbies familiar with the site and its features, including the newly refurbished visitor centre! Then on we went with tools in hand and steel toe caps on feet (safety first!), to go check out what work needed doing.
The section of the coastline which needed the most work doing to it was the area with all the Sea buckthorn- a problematic plant species that needed to be cut down to make room for other species in the area. Sea buckthorn (Hippophaë rhamnoides) is a native British species but one which has been widely introduced beyond its native range for reasons including dune stabilisation, protection of forestry plantations, visitor control and amenity. The invasive nature of the species became apparent in the years following the outbreaks of myxomatosis in the 1950s which virtually wiped out rabbit populations in many dune systems.
The group was separated into two- one cutting down the Sea buckthorn and pulling the huge roots out (the muscles definitely came out at this point and for some members…Liam…I think some frustration too), and the other group cutting the remnants down and throwing it in a bonfire. And even though the day began windy and cold, the sun did find its way out for us and luckily no rain was seen all day! Little wildlife was seen that day but that must have been because we were all too busy at work, however, we did have a fantastic view of a rainbow and Liam, once he came back from his very long wander, said he saw…., which was impressive! All in all, we had a successful day and a great turn out so thank you everyone who came along! We hope you enjoyed it as much as the committee did!