Wild Skills is our practical volunteering group for 13-18 year olds – we meet once a month and carry out work around the nature reserve. For the past 2 months we have doing something a little different; building a bird watching screen on the Hambleton Peninsula. The team have worked really hard during all weathers to get the screen finished, and have used a variety of different skills to complete the task.

The January meeting was pretty chilly!

The January meeting was pretty chilly!

During our January meeting, the main priority was to coppice the trees around the area our screen would be situated, to give a clear view of the reservoir, and to make sure there was a clear walkway from the footpath to the waters edge. The team also spent time digging the holes for the posts that would support the screen – making sure the holes were all of equal depth was a tricky job, but after lots of measuring they managed it in the end. Then Dale Martin and Luke Russell, from Anglian Water, added postcrete (a type of concrete) to the holes. The dedicated Wild Skills members then had to support the posts as the postcrete set – I think they’d agree standing still supporting a post whilst sleet was starting to come in from over the reservoir wasn’t the best job, but the finished posts were perfectly in line by the time they had finished – well done team!

When nearly all the posts had set!

When nearly all the posts had set!

The next job was to fix the timber to the posts, and agree where the gaps would go so that the screen was usable for people of all heights. Everyone got to have a go drilling the timber into place, with the tallest members of the group finishing the screen off! We also built a dead hedge either side of the screen, to help provide a bit of extra cover between the birds and the birdwatchers. We used brash from the trees we had coppiced during the January session to build the dead hedge.

The finished screen with a nearly-finished dead hedge to either side

The finished screen with a nearly-finished dead hedge to either side

Well done to all the Wild Skills members for working so hard – look out for our bird watching screen if you are walking the footpath around the Hambleton Peninsula! Thank you to Anglian Water staff Dale and Luke for their help.

Relaxing after a job well done

Relaxing after a job well done

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