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Recent News

Himalayan Balsom

This highly invasive species has been found in the water courses surrounding Portmoak Moss. Over a few weekends we have cleared out plants from most areas where it has been encroaching. This will be an ongoing effort for the next few years and controlling it and preventing its spead is crucial.

Safety Training

We always focus on running safe events and have a well tried safety approach in place. This was supplemented by 6 of our team going on the Woodland Trust's safety course.

Damsel and Dragon flies

As our peat bog has slowly returned into its original condition, other species are recolonising. In a collaborative effort with the British Dragonfly Society a couple of ponds were dug out on the peat dome. We are expecting these to provide beeding sites which will encourage more odonata species to come to the Moss.

Birch pulling

We've made a big effort to clear birch regen on the peat dome. Up to now regen has mainly been tackled using chemicals but we're keen to see if a more environmentally friendly approach can work.

Pulling out birch sapplings by hand is hard work but the Portmoak team have been hard at it most weekends and there was a big event in September when outside groups including the Cadets and the Bog Squad joined in too. A really large area is now clear and we'll be looking at how well this lasts in comparison to the chemically treated areas.

Chris's Place official opening: 18 June 2019

The project to commemorate Chris Vlasto by making a play area and open air classroom has been completed and opened. The last things put in place were a beautiful green oak table and benches. Lot's of children participated and played at the opening - which Chris would have loved.

Woodland Trust Volunteers Day: 15 June 2019

Volunteers from other groups spent a day with us. The Woodland Trust gave an overview of there sites in Scotland and the things that volunteers do, there was a talk about the dranonfly and damselfly species found on the Moss, and we talked about our events and work.

Teachers Day: 22 May 2019

Local children did a project to gather data about birch regen on the site - how much, how big, where. This information that they have found out will help us to plan future activities to control the regen.

Dawn Chorus: 4 May 2019

An early start - 04:00 - but worth it. When half a dozen of us arrived, even the birds were still in their beds so instead of them waking us up like they usually do, we made a racket and got them going. Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Tree Sparrow, Sedge Warbler and the high pitched Goldcrest joined in.

We had a magic hour and half with Scott Paterson, the bird recorder for Perth and Kinross, pointing out the different birdsongs and giving us loads of information on the birds and the meaning of their songs.

Interagency Climare Change Group visit: 30 April 2019

We were visited by a very prestigious group of scientists: the Interagency Climate Change Group, from the government agencies Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural Resources Wales and Natural England.

The climate change scientists were looking at the capacity of UK peat bogs to store carbon and help combat climate change. They were particularly interested to see how a former commercial forestry plantation like Portmoak could be turned into a peat bog once again.

There was some debate about the question of removing trees, which also store carbon, but of course the WTS, with community help, has planted thousands of trees up in Kilmagad Wood and the scientists were very impressed to see how the two sites complement one another.

Dr. Mike Morecroft, Principal Specialist, Climate Change for Natural England summed up their impressions:

“This site is exemplary. It’s a microcosm of what we need to do to tackle greenhouse gas emissions on the land: planting trees on the hill and restoring peatland, with great community engagement and benefits for peoples’ physical and mental health.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Birch Pulling: spring 2019

Lot's of people have been out manually removing birch regrowth. This is an alternative to using chemical treatment and we're hoping to compare the two methods to see which has the best effect.

Annual General Meeting: 16 April 2019

The office bearers were 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.

Christmas Tree Pruning: 24 March 2019

Did the usual thing of thinning out split trees, clearing round good looking ones and generally getting ready for Christmas. OK, there's still quite a few shopping days to go, but this activity makes sure that the trees are in good shape in December.

Orchard Pruning: 2 March 2019

The spring haircut for our orchard. We had a good crop last year and this bit of work should make things even better later this year.

Burns Ceilidh: 2 February 2019

Instead of our usual Burns Supper we had a Burns Ceilidh featuring one of Scotland's best ceilidh bands and certainly the best named - Ceilidh Minogue. It was a traditional village ceilidh with dancing, singing and poems. Dr Bill Carr performed his famous Address to (and massacre of) the Haggis, with secret weapons. Survivers thought this was a great night.

Christmas Tree day: 16 December 2018

This has become a real annual highlight and plenty of people once again got their tree from us, usually making a donation. Everything we raise goes into our continuing efforts to restore the raised peat bog, improve our community orchard and put on fun and informative free events about the plants, bugs and history of our woodlands.

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment visit: 28 November 2018

We were very pleased to host this visit. Roseanna's department is responsible for funding the Peatland Action programme, which has paid for much of the restoration work on the Moss.

It was a good opportunity to show her the tremendous progress which has been made and to impress on her the importance of continued long term funding. She couldn't commit for the next 6000 years (the timescale for growth of raised peat bogs), but she said that she hoped to keep it going for the next few years.

Apple Day: 30 September 2018

We've been doing this for a few years now so it's one of our core activities. (Heh, heh, heh). About 150 people brought apples for identification. Masses of apples were turned into juice and plenty of apple-themed desserts were consumed.

National Bog Day: 22 July 2018, Portmoak Moss

You were probably excited about National Bog Day - it's right up there with Christmas and Pancake Day. We celebrated it at Portmoak Moss. A couple of dozen people were guided around the Moss, spotting dragonflies and damselflies.

Moths and butterflies had been trapped the night before, identified and then we released them. We also did some dipping (ponds, not other people's pockets). Interesting and fun event!

Himalayan Balsam: June 2018

This is an invasive species which spreads very rapidly and we are seeing signs of it encroaching on the Moss. Rapid intervention is required - if it spreads its seeds then it can quickly overrun a large area. We went down and removed it and we expect this to be an ongoing effort for the next few years.

MP visit: 30 May 2018

Our local MP, Luke Graham asked to visit us to hear about the wotk we are doing on Portmoak Moss. We toured our site and explained about the environmental importance of bogs in general and Portmoak in particular.

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Woodland Trust Scotland

Events

 

Christmas Tree Day

Christmas Tree Day 2021 was a great success.

About 160 people came and as well as finding their trees everyone enjoyed the social part too - eating cakes and talking about peat bogs and Moss restoration. One of our best bits of feedback was "Our tree is perfectly imperfect! "

As always this was a free event - but we got many, many donations which we'll be using to buy more equipment to continue our work on the Moss. Thanks to everyone for your generosity.
Burns Ceilidh Cancelled in January but hope to have a celidh later in the year.
   
   

 

 

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