17 March dawned wet and grey in Belfast, which was a bit of a worry for 1st Greenisland Brownies, as we were off hedge planting! We planned to do something green for St Patrick’s Day and celebrate Climate Week too. Thankfully when we arrived at the Conservation Volunteers site at Knockbracken Health Care Park in Belfast it was beginning to brighten up beautifully and the legendary 40 shades of green in Northern Ireland had begun to show through in the sunlight.Nine Brownies were all full of energy and ready to go!
We were met on site by Chris from the Conservation Volunteers. He explained to us what we would be doing and why. Today we would be planting a native hedgerow (made up of hazel, rose and blackthorn). It was being planted to prevent cows breaking into the allotments and destroying the crops. After some fun warm up exercises flapping like birds, and a safety chat about barbed wire and thorns, we were ready to get planting.
Whilst some of the other volunteers on the site began clearing the area for planting, 1st Greenisland Brownies worked together and planted two trees, a Mountain Ash and a Cherry, that would reduce our carbon footprint significantly. Then began the hard work of the day planting the hedge. The girls split into groups of two or three and worked with a volunteer along the length of the hedge. They learnt how to make an upside down “T” for planting and where each root began (they where shown that the plant changed colour at its root tips) and that this was where it needed to be planted from.
The girls planted around a mile of hedgerow and by 1.15 we had finished all the planting and were really hungry. We enjoyed a lovely barbeque outside in the March sunshine!
The girls all discovered that it was going to be an early spring. Buds had already formed on the trees, tadpoles where already in the ponds, we saw a ladybird and of course lots of other creepy crawlies whilst digging… much to the delight of several of our more adventurous girls.
The girls had a wonderfully active day and completed a worthwhile project. They also made us as leaders extremely proud of them.
We do hope to be able to work with the Conservation Volunteers again in the future.