Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Volunteer Working Weekend

What an amazing weekend!

Both Saturday and Sunday saw 28 people throwing themselves into hedgelaying, fencing and tree planting with tremendous enthusiasm! There was a mixture of old volunteers and new, young and old, experienced and amateurs. The farm was alive with activity and a buzz was in the air.

This weekend also launched the beginnings of (hopefully!) a working relationship with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV). Three wonderful trainers were at Fordhall all weekend putting volunteers through their paces and training them to a standard to recieve qualifications for tree planting and fence building.

This activity was funded by a generous grant from the Shropshire Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund and the 200 trees were donated by Shropshire County Council. Everyone who attended the weekend planted a tree.

One of the best things about the weekend was the way people talked amongst themselves. People commented that they were a little nervous about attending on their own but left in the afternoon feeling really satisfied with their day. They had met many others, all from a varied background and different areas of the country, but all at Fordhall for the same reason - to support its future.

This was the first weekend shareholders attended and it gave them an oppourtunity to be involved more directly in the development of Fordhall Farm and a chance to put something directly into it.

The varied activities throughout the weekend allowed volunteers to try new skills. One volunteer couldn't believe how much fun she had had building a post and wire fence, something she never imagined she would do. Others have found enthusiasm for hedge-laying.
It is absolutly vital that traditional skills such as these are kept alive and taught. Not only is a perfectly layed hedge fantastic for wildlife and conservation; the aesthetic value of it is outstanding.
We must send out a huge thank you to all the volunteers for all the hard work they put in over the two days. The results at Fordhall have been amazing and they will be there for generations to come.
Check out www.fordhallfarm.com for more photos and dates of future Working Weekends.

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