Burrator News 15

Hi Everyone,

1. Summer holiday family fun at Burrator!

Well August has happened! We have held 4 fun filled family days here attended by 496 people! Each day was themed around habitats: Meadows, Woodlands, Wetlands and Hedges. Activities included different types of outdoor cooking including bread, bannock and pizzas in our new cob oven, woodwork creations of mini beasts, medallions, boats and mice plus weaving, stream dipping and wild art! Over 100 people came to each session and many were visitors for the first time. Thank you to all our fantastic volunteers for their endless enthusiasm in enabling us to deliver these days. Our next family activity day will be in October half term.

“Thank you for a fantastic session this morning. Particular thanks to the two amazing guys running the woodwork. They took their lives in their hands I think but my two absolutely loved it.” (Helen)

2. Work Experience

Over the last couple of months we have hosted a number of placements for a range of students doing different studies:

At the beginning of July we delivered a week long placement for six Year 10 students from Tavistock Community College, assisting with bracken bashing around newly planted trees, litter picking around the reservoir, scrub management and design and construction of a log store for the Lower Lawn.

In addition, Josh from St. Austell joined us for a Year 10 week placement in July. The highlight of his placement was helping Neil with the monthly bat survey checks. In August Alice, currently in the middle of completing her A Levels, joined us for a week which involved assisting with several public events and developed a specialism in weaving spiders webs.

Jason, who is currently in the second year of his Environmental Science degree at Plymouth University, has recently joined with us and will be getting stuck into practical conservation days, site maintenance and other events.

“Thanks very much for a great work experience! It’s helped me understand what jobs surround the environmental sectors and the qualifications / experiences that may help towards working in, and with, the environment. Especially the bat box surveys, where I learnt that a greater amount of volunteering days done (e.g. bat checks) can contribute to the required job position, and the conservation volunteering days, understanding the job roles and tasks which needed to be done in order to sustain environmental quality (for nature and the public).”

3. Evening Fun

Throughout the year we have been delivering monthly sessions as part of Dame Hannah’s evening programme for Lads and Ladies nights.

During the past months we have been out exploring Sheepstor Dam, cooking marshmallows over the camp fire and creating dragonflies out of willow. The next sessions will involve making jewellery out of elder.

4. Employee Volunteer Days and Team Building Days

During the summer we have delivered 2 different types of employee days for HSBC and Sensory Solutions.

On Thursday 20 July 10 staff from HSBC joined us for a practical conservation day. In the morning they worked hard clearing away brambles and bracken from around young trees and in the afternoon they helped towards our ‘tree guard removal’ project and removed over 200 tree guards off trees giving them a new lease of life. We also had the opportunity to apply to HSBC for a grant towards some new tools, thank you very much.

5. Our Burrator Champions

During the summer months the midweek and weekend volunteer teams have been busy mainly focusing on bracken management around the young trees in the plantation across from Lowery Moor and around key archaeological sites including Vinneylake and Norsworthy Farms, as well as routine maintenance work in the Arboretum, around the Lower Lawn and annual charcoal making.

In addition, our Monday and Tuesday teams have been replacing dog lifters, repairing fences, carrying out drainage works and helping us prepare the site for the annual Fishing Feast, plus many other things.

To ensure the centre runs smoothly we have a team of visitor guides who, along with meeting and greeting visitors and helping them plan their visits, were also busy with other tasks, for example researching and creating our first exhibition of the Fishing Feast.

Finally, to help me deliver our programme of school visits in term time and the family activity days in the holidays, our volunteers have been busy behind the scenes creating resources, laminating, leading bug ID sessions, preparing kindling and making endless amounts of dough … to name but a few varied tasks.

Thank you ever so much. None of this would have been possible without you.

 6. Fishing Feast Memorabilia

Thank you ever so much to Brian Spear, a fellow cricketer with our volunteer Sandy, who is the Great Grandson to Mayor Bond and who kindly gave the Discovery Centre his family’s artefacts, in particular relating to the Fishing Feast.

Come and have a look in our glass cabinet to see the original invitation addressed to Miss E Bond for the ‘Fyshynge Feaste’ and Completion of Burrator Reservoir, Wednesday 21 September 1898.

 7. Our new Archaeological Monitoring Project is Under way

Last summer we held an initial training day lead by Andy Crabb, from English Heritage and Dartmoor National Park Authority, and Anne from the Dartmoor Tinworking Research Group, to explore how we could develop a monitoring project that would enable volunteers, and those who enjoy walking around Burrator, to also help South West Lakes Trust with our archaeological management plan, by carrying out regular condition surveys of key archaeological sites. Earlier this year we held a follow up session and we now have several volunteers trained up and actively surveying a number of sites. If you would like to know more please do get in touch with Emily.

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