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Meeting minutes







AGM on Tuesday 17 April, Well Inn Scotlandwell at 19:30
We’ll have our AGM at the next meeting on 17 April 2018 at the Well Inn, Scotlandwell.
The agenda is:

1.   Election of office bearers
        Current Chair:               Jeff Gunnell
        Current Secretary:        Louise Batchelor
        Current Treasurer:        Lesley Botten

2.   Review of Accounts
        Lesley Botten

3.   Review of the year
        Jeff Gunnell

4.   Changes to the constitution
        Our current constitution is here.

5.   Any other business

After the AGM, we'll continue with our usual monthly meeting.


Popping and Pulling: 26 March 2018
It’s time for a commentator’s curse: spring has definitely  arrived! Which means that outside birds are returning, moths and butterflies are appearing and everything is starting to grow again. All good news, especially at Portmoak Moss. Except the bit about everything starting to grow. Most of it we like, but we’re not keen on birch saplings sprouting on the raised bog. They suck water out and prevent sphagnum moss from growing. If we didn’t do anything about it, in a few years the whole of the Moss would be covered with birch scrub. We’d lose our open views and even worse, we’d lose the unique raised bog eco-system which we’ve been patiently restoring for almost 20 years.
Time for action. For quite a while birch regen has been controlled using chemicals - weedkillers - which is an easy way to do it, but needs doing every year. We’d like to find a more sustainable method so we’re experimenting with birch popping and pulling. Pulling is easy to understand. The smallest saplings can be yanked out by hand, but bigger ones have bigger roots and that’s where the poppers come in. They have jaws to grip the trunk and a long lever to pop the tree out, roots and all. We bought 2 poppers last winter and we’ve been experimenting with them. Then in March a team from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) joined us to put in a concentrated day of popping and pulling. SEPA employees are allowed to spend a workday taking part as volunteers on a suitable scheme. Popping and pulling on the Moss was a great opportunity to get out of the office for a day and get on with some practical work in the environment. It turned out to be good fun too and we cleared an area of about 150 square metres.

Burns Supper: 27 January 2018
Once again, the haggis had a hard time of it. It made a dash for the door but Dr Carr was merciless with his broad sword. The immortal memory was by Professor Robert Crawford of St Andrews University, who dealt with Burns as a sex pest. As always, many locals made pests of themselves by singing, reciting, playing, writing haikus, and downing prodigious amounts of whisky. A good time had by all. Except the haggis. The Newsletter report is here.

Insects, moths, butterflies, dragonflies, bumblebees

There's an amazing number of insects living in the Moss - and the diversity has increased a lot because of the work that has been done to restore the peat dome. Butterfly Conservation  http://www.eastscotland-butterflies.org.uk/  do an incredible job of monitoring and recording moths and butterflies across the UK. Our local people are George Guthrie and Duncan Davidson. If you ever see strange lights in the Moss late at night, there's a good chance that it's George trapping moths and butterflies ready to identify, count and record them. Sometimes they put on special events for us too.

This file shows what they've seen on the Moss so far in 2017 - there's 102 species.

Christmas Tree Day: 17 December 2017
Quite a local tradition now - loads of people came and got their Christmas Trees from the Moss.

Access Road Repair: 15 Oct 2017
You might have noticed that the track into the Moss from Scotlandwell was full of holes. Well, we looked into them (!) and decided that something had to be done. The owners of the road (a big utility company, no names but you could always protest by stopping drinking any water) have always resisted doing any repairs so we decided that we'd just go ahead and fix the track ourselves. The Portmoak Festival donated funds for materials - a big heap of Type 1 - and a gang of us went down and got the job done.

Apple Day: 1 Oct 2017
We’ve been doing this for a few years now and this was another enjoyable event, despite the rain. In fact, maybe because of the rain - we moved indoors to the Village Hall and about 60 people came to get their apples turned into juice. Or their neighbour's. (Note the punctuation. Apostrophe 's'. It's their apples that got turned into juice, not the actual neighbours).

The Portmoak Time Machine: 23 July 2017
Our favorite Time Lord brought his tardis to Portmoak Moss as part of the "Our Portmoak" series of events. Andrew McBride of SNH took a peat core of about 6 metres depth - that is to say he went back in time by about 6000 years. Facinating. We could clearly see changes in climate (wet periods, dry periods) and in vegetation types through the history of the Moss. There was even a well preserved, bright blue insect carapice from about 5500 years ago. More than 20 people attended and much enjoyed the event. Especially small boys who were able to smear each other with some really, really old mud.

Dawn Chorus: 23 July 2017
23 to 23 July was a UK-wide dragonfly event. They were duly spotted on the Moss.
British Trust for Ornithology: 27 May 2017
Gail the bird ringer(their legs, not their necks) set up three nets in the field opposite the village hall. Didn't use feeders or tape lures (latter forbidden in the breeding season), so relied on birds moving through the area. Nets were set up among small trees so that birds flying between them would be trapped. In total caught 11 birds, all unringed: blue tit (3), great tit (3), bullfinch, chiffchaff, robin, willow warbler (2). Saw or heard great spotted woodpeckers, green woodpecker, garden warbler, blackcap, white throat, buzzard, sparrowhawk, garden warbler, wren, thrush, blackbird, chaffinch, redpoll.

Dawn Chorus: 6 May 2017
A 04:00 start for a dawn chorus event, led by Scott Paterson. It was International Dawn Chorus Day so crazy people all around the world were making their blearly eyed way outdoors. We didn't see many birds but heard plenty and as always, Scott was a mine of information. Great event attended by about a dozen of our local crazies.

Christmas Tree Pruning: 23 April 2017
A dozen folk went down to the Moss to prepare Christmas trees for our December event. By taking care of split growth and giving them a bit of space and shaping at this time of year, everything is much easier in December.

Annual General Meeting: 18 April 2017
The office bearers were elected - well, re-elected. Jeff Gunnell is the Chair, Louise Batchelor is the Secretary and Lesley Botten is the Treasurer.
We're in good shape financially with enough funds to be able to keep putting on public events free of charge but also able to respond rapidly to opportunities, like buying more land or paying for projects, should a suitable opportunity crop up.
We looked back on what we've done in the last year and we're pleased with the balance between management activities and public events.
The constitution is here.
And if you want to see the minutes of the AGM, they are here.

Fame at last: The Times features PCW: 17 April 2017.
See this: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/returning-the-land-to-bog-standard-rg68pnwnh

PCWG in parliament and with the Climate Change Secretary: March 2017
An important event for bogs: the Peatland Action programme has been relaunched. Much of the funding for the projects that we have been doing to restore Portmoak Moss has come from Peatland Action via SNH. PCWG were represented at Holyrood when the programme was introduced to MSPs and also at the Red Moss, near Edinburgh where the Climate Change Secretary saw just what bogs and mosses are like and why they are important. We were expecting a chap in a pinstripe suit, bowler hat and carrying a furled umberella, but it turned out to be Rosanna Cunningham.

Portmoak Moss viewed from Kilmagad Wood, with Loch Leven and Benarty Hill in the background

Fine views, delightful walking and an ambitious project to restore a commercial plantation to a raised peat bog.

Located at Scotlandwell, near to Kinross and the M90, about midway between the Forth Road Bridge and Perth.