A new breed of beetle

Once again the volunteer corps looking after Southrepps Commons turned out in force tis morning: not in such massive force as for the last session's extraordinary effort, but still a very respectable 16 on a beautiful early Autumn warm and sunny day. We had switched our attention to the section known to us as Area A: that's the grassy part off Warren Road, before the boardwalk. Several weeks before some material had been cut and left in heaps, waiting for a working party to be able to haul it away to the western edge of the site. It is quite a large area, whihc this photo indicates.

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Most of the work involved the usual cutting, heaping material onto drag sheets and winching it to the edge. The area also needs to be kept free of the Alder trees which want to spread from the carr woodland along the banks of the Beck. As documented in ealrier blog entries, the tool for this job is our wonderful tree popper, and we now have a new apprentice junior tree popper person. Our most junior, and quite possibly most enthusiastic volunteer is shown here hard at work.

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Our usual winch crew was not present this time, but nothing daunted Kevin stepped into the breach, under the expert tutelage of Chairman John.

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The whole process worked very smoothly, meaning those loading or guiding the dragged sheets had little respite...

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We always like to come up with new refinements to our processes, and this time was no exception. When the sheet has reached its destination, its rear edge is pulled over in order to tip the load out in a nice tight ball. The usual approach is then to spread it out with pitchforks, but the flash of creativity was to keep that tight ball intact, rolling it off sideways. It is, to all intents and puposes, much how a dung beetle goes about its work, and so, of course, the dung beetles is how we know know the people performing that vital work. The world would be so much the poorer without dung beetles! (Sadly, your correspondent did not think to photograph this, but watch out for future blogs.)

Here is Chairman John's messsage of thanks.

Hello All

Thankyou very much for another demonstration of team-work at its very best.  This morning I think we hit on the optimum number, sixteen, and achieved more than I had dared hope.  Kevin emerged from relative obscurity to become a Winch Grandmaster in just one session, and the winching team developed a further refinement which shall henceforth be called the Dung Beetle Method - don't ask!  Well done everybody, you were all brilliant. I hope we do as well in two weeks time, 8th October.

Kind regards

John