About Keep Wales Tidy's Tidy Towns' work in Cardiff

Hi, my name is Chris Partridge and I am Keep Wales Tidy's Tidy Towns Project Officer for Cardiff. Activities we undertake are often in partnership with Cardiff Council's Parks Department (both waste services and Community Park Rangers) and Street Cleansing. We have organised events for several businesses across Cardiff and is happy to accommodate future requests. For more information you can contact Chris on 07717 412 270 or by Email: chris.partridge@keepwalestidy.org You can also follow me on Twitter for upcoming events @CardiffKWT

Saturday, 1 September 2012

August Update

An exciting month this month with efforts on Himalayan balsam with the knowledge that the pulling season is nearly over, but with the disappointment that there is a huge area untouched. In total I’ve been directly involved with 55 Himalayan balsam events this year from late June until the end of August. This has involved a massive 403 volunteers of which 154 were completely new to the Himalayan balsam world. These volunteers put in a massive 642.5 voluntary hours. Seasoned veterans Cardiff Rivers Group have been pulling it up and new group Cardiff Trails Scrubs have had their first experience of tackling the plant mainly on the Ely near Leckwith. We’ve educated and informed the Mill Road Group who dived in with enormous enthusiasm on the Ely just downstream from Birdies lane bridge on the Fairwater side (I think the stress release of the work swung it for them almost more than anything else). The group enjoyed it so much that they were disappointed that they had to stop and now have to wait until next year. Pics here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBesR7d http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBnn8BY http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBsgbZU
Left. Around 90 ft of balsam before you can get to the river, and nothing but balsam (30th July). Right. You can see the river now with an area of 80 x 140 feet of balsam cleared by the Mill Road + Group (Aug 16th).
Awareness raising is one of those tasks where you can invest a lot of time and if an event has few people, for example it is pouring of rain can be almost a waste of time. However, this month in Fairwater, Friends of Cardiff Dogs Home and Fairwater Communities First organised a Dog Show behind Fairwater Leisure Centre and it was heaving with people and their dogs. On 2 separate occasions on the day groups of youths came up to my table and asked if they could litterpick the whole area. They collected about 3 big bags of rubbish and it was remarkable. They weren’t in school and it wasn’t an organised event with a youth centre. Over the past 2 years, I’ve invested efforts in Waterhall Youth Centre working really closely with the brilliant Communities First Team (why have Cardiff Council let these amazing people go?), we’ve litterpicked, made dormouse boxes as part of last year’s Wild Weekend and Cardiff Park’s Services gave us some daffs to plant and we planted a load of daffs in the dark outside Fairwater shops with some of these kids. This small investment from me and a few others has led to them caring enough that they wanted to make a difference. These kids don’t know much about section 42 wildlife, they don’t really understand sustainable development, was it time well spent as a Keep Wales Tidy Officer or value for money from a Welsh Government Tidy Towns point of view? I like to think so.
Some of the kids helping out at Fairwater Dog Show (Ben, Right Right, earned his Goodies in Hoodies Hoodie last year with the work he did making dormouse boxes with me for Wild Weekend)
Last year for Wild Weekend in some places, we made dormouse boxes and these were made from plywood. What I found in some places, is that the wood quickly starts to rot, but they stand out in situ. I had a little idea about this and set up a trial event at Llanedeyrn Playcentre. I have done a reasonable amount of work here and with the kids, we have regular litterpicks of the adjacent woods, we have pulled the Himalayan balsam here for the past 2 years and also put up 3 bat boxes which haven’t been vandalised even though they are pretty obvious. Anyway, we put together 3 dormouse boxes from left over materials and then decided to get creative. Using a dark brown and dark green wood preservative, we camouflage painted the dormouse boxes, so they will be better hidden in situ and also have some wood preservative quality. These will come in handy for Wild Weekend events (for more info on Wild Weekend go to http://keepwalestidy.sequence.co.uk/campaigns/wild-weekend-2012) Pics here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBqLgZw
Just some of the kids at Llanedeyrn Playcentre who helped to build and trial camo paint a few dormouse boxes.

We’ve just started out performing a really nice project in Llandaff Cathedral Cemetery in partnership with Cardiff Council’s Bereavement Services (who have just taken over the site management) and Conservation and Policy Group. The initial point of the work was to organise volunteer events around Prichard Bridge just to the north of the Cathedral. The Conservation and Policy group need to inspect the bridge to see how they can best preserve it. However, the bridge has trees around it, landslides on both sides of the arches and loads of potentially hazardous litter under it. While on a site visit with all partners, I noticed that there was Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed, rosebay willowherb, buddleia and it was extremely wild. Bereavement Services have given us almost carte blanche undertake almost any improvement works, habitat or otherwise. Like many parts of local authorities across Wales, there isn’t always capacity to do all the things they’d like to do, so with our help and expertise, we can do some really nice stuff here, with volunteers, schools and even to help them set up a voluntary group to achieve this. They will then be able to support this work in ways in which we can’t easily do and everyone benefits at this amazing site. So for our first event, we just pulled a large patch of balsam and on the last event, we performed 3 activities; litterpicking, balsam pulling in the thick brambles and clearance of one of the landslide sides of the bridge. Pics here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBFiKEC http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBPcvtq and a map showing some of the progress of our work can be viewed here: http://goo.gl/maps/OFEgc.
Top. Boys working on clearing and sorting the landslide. Bottom left. Intact 40 year old plastic sweet wrappers found in the landslide. Bottom Right. Most of the vols.

Don’t forget to register a Tidy Wales Week event Sep 17-23. However if you can’t fit one in then, but can either side, just let TWW@keepwalestidy.org know (oh and let me know too please).

Finally, a quick thanks to Parks services and Street Cleansing for helping to remove rubbish after events this month, Communities First in Ely, Fairwater, St. Mellons & Llanrumney for being brilliant as per usual and helping out again this month, Lucy from Cardiff Council Tidy Towns and Danielle from Waste Education and Enforcement, Cllrs. Carter & Ali for performing proactive environmental work with and without us in their wards and Cllr. Govier for enthusiastically embracing the environment from so many angles.

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