We ROSE to the challenge to join in the War of the Roses!
3 GoodGymers made their way to help the Fishponds Park in Kingston upon Thames.
- Saturday, 27th of October 2018
Kingston upon Thames runner
Three GoodGym musketeers (Karoline, Nicky & Kate) met at the Fishponds Park in Surbiton this morning. We were excited to get involved in supporting this Community Action Day, bringing the local community together in order to improve Fishponds Park Surbiton as a park, a wildlife habitat and community green space. There was a large group gathered to volunteer and it was lovely to see so many members of the community giving up their Saturday morning to improve their local environment. We met a pair of brothers bonding over the conservation work and many family and friends groups coming together as well as Duke of Edinburgh students (which we were kindly mistaken for a couple of times!). It was so great to see everyone coming out and braving the chilly autumnal sunshine.
There was a large range of tasks for people to volunteer for from clearing woodland paths, pruning bushes, cleaning out the ponds, litter picking and more all explained by Elliot Newton – the very passionate conservationist and founder of the Kingston Biodiversity Network. He also gave us a demonstration of the use of certain tools including safety warnings and instructions. The Citizen Zoo team (focusing on ‘rewilding our future' and ‘helping you help nature’) provided many fantastic brand new tools including mattocks, slashers (‘slash’ ahhhh), bow saws, forks, spades, wheelbarrows, litter picks and loppers. We were feeling a little thorn between taking the loppers, forks or spades so in the end decided to carry as many as our hands could hold and more!
The musketeers (or rather – ‘lopperteers’) collected our tools of choice and headed for the rose bushes that needed pruning. What a* lopper* pruning and snipping we did too! There were concerns that the overgrowth promoted antisocial behaviour and some dodgy deals were going on in the park. We were instructed by Jeremy Wadia of the Citizen Zoo to reduce the overgrown bushes to waist height. With no time to waist we put the petal to the metal! It wasn’t long before we felt Seal calling about a Kiss from a Rose as the thorns showed signs of attachment issues! There was a great deal of team work required by the ‘Three Lopperteers’ as one was being gripped by thorny branches, another snipped her free and the third pulled the bindweed and branches tangle away to the bags. As persistent as those thorns were, we remained positive, keeping in mind that our rose-coloured glasses (helpful to have eye protection) would keep us blind to thorny issues. Our great satisfaction of the task stemmed from the clear result of our hard work. We can see clearly now the thorns are gone!
Once we’d filled the big bags of greenery, we hauled them down to the truck and hoisted them up to be tipped out and re-filled. Nicky didn’t hesitate to jump into the back of the truck to help while Karoline passed the bag up so I opted to take over the task of photographer briefly so that there is evidence of Nicky’s contributions too! There was a *rosy *time had by all!
As an added bonus, when we stopped for a break and refreshments we were treated to two short talks. The first by the conservation expert Elliot Newton about wildlife in the park and the second by local resident Rob Eyre-Brook about the history of Fishponds Park and Fishponds House. We thoroughly enjoyed the educational experience and really admired Elliot’s passion for nature. Now we know that there are three species of newts in our local area, how to distinguish a toad from a frog and that they do in fact hibernate in winter! Every day’s a school day! We will be keeping in touch with Elliot to find out when we can join in on their next conservation event. Hopefully we’ll have more Goodgymers available to join us on the next one. Watch this space!
Thank you Karoline for organizing this community mission for us and Nicky for taking on the role of photographer.
Report written by Kate Haworth
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