As well as being school half-term, it is also London Rivers week. We have planned this session to coincide with both!
During this week various groups all over London will out running events on various rivers and streams, one of which is “Balsam Bashing”.
We will be meeting outside Berrylands Scouts Hut on Sterling Walk, as usual, for an intro briefing, before heading into the nature reserve.
Don’t worry if you can’t join us for the whole session, even an hour or two would be very gratefully appreciated.
Balsam Bashing is a coordinate effort to try to remove as much Himalayan Balsam as possible, which is a highly invasive species that can cause significant erosion to the banks of waterways.
As it’s name suggests it is natively found in the Himalayas and it therefore tolerant of low light levels, grows extremely quickly, and doesn’t have a significant root system. It therefore easily out competes native species which hold the banks together.
Each plant produces approximately 800 seeds, and can project them upto 7m, so if left to it’s own devices it can spread and take over areas extremely quickly.
To make matters worse it is also easily spread to new sites through seeds getting into rivers and streams.
We spent a lot of time trying to eradicate Himalayan Balsam from the nature reserve last summer, but as the seeds are viable for upto 3 years we need to keep on top of it again this year.
The one saving grace is that it is really easy to pull up, and very satisfying!
In addition to “Balsam Bashing” we will also likely be doing some other tasks, including watering the tree saplings planted last year, with tasks suitable for all ages and abilities.
Although you can balsam bash from the banks in places, sometime you just have to get into the stream and pull it from there (which is great fun!).
If you have wellies or even waders then please wear/bring those along. Also as the balsam likes to grow around nettles long sleeves would be highly advisable, and some gloves if you have any (we will have spares).
As usual biscuits and warm drinks will be provided.
Volunteers of all ages are welcome, but we do ask that those under 14 are accompanied by an adult. Those aged 14-18 may volunteer alone, with parental consent forms to be completed on the day.
If you have any questions about the session, or volunteering with the friends group in general then please drop us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope you can join us.