[Oliver Price | News Sub Editor]
A conservation volunteering effort organised by Carly Benson of the Hertfordshire Students’ Union took place at the Bayfordbury Campus on Wednesday March 4th. The event was coordinated in cooperation with the Ecology department of the University of Hertfordshire.
The volunteer event consisted of coppicing at Hooks Grove; coppicing is method of woodland conservation very common in England which involves chopping down a section of woodland on rotation every 15 years. It stems from the fact that the modern woods grew up being consistently used for firewood, furniture, nearly everything needed to live a lifestyle. As time went on we relied on wood less and less but we still have to prevent them from becoming overgrown, because it would result in less sunlight and therefore less wildlife.
There is a large variety of wildlife at the Bayfordbury Field Station. Dr Chantal Helm, academic coordinator for the site, said: “We’ve got snakes; we’ve got newts; we’ve got bats; we’ve got small mammals; badgers.”
Christine North, a 2nd year model making student, volunteered for the day: “I’ve wanted to do volunteering for a while,” she said, “it seem like a good thing to do and I finally had some time off so why not give it a go?”
She said that coppicing, “takes some practice.” When asked if she’d stabbed anyone with a saw, she responded: “Not yet, and I haven’t hit anyone with a tree falling down.”
Robert Searle said, “I just come up here every now and then with the group,” and that, “I do enjoy it. It’s nice break out of the office for myself, it’s a good way for environmental students to get involved… it’s just a nice project. And of course we’re contributing to the university and the community where we’re studying and where we’re all living at the moment, so that’s nice as well.”
These events, as well as other volunteering events are run often by the Students’ Union, so why not give back to the community? Check out how you can get involved at http://hertfordshire.su/activities/volunteering/