Idenitifying plants (c) Suzi Richer
PIG - Malvern Local Group's Plant Identification Group - we're not the dusty old folks, looking at dry dead plants and using lots of Latin terms that you may have thought we were - and we most definitely could be for you!
Suppose, for a second, that you run a nature reserve. You would want to know what was there and whether you were managing it properly. It's no good starting off with rare orchids, doing nothing and letting scrub grow all around them and shading them out. You need to find out what’s there and how effective your management of the site is; this is where PIG comes in.
PIG is a group of volunteers working within the Malvern local group of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. We have members who range from those who can just about recognise a daisy (most of the time) to those who know lots about plants. But, as in everything else, no one knows it all and sharing of knowledge is everything.
PIG performs plant surveys on Worcestershire Wildlife Trust (WWT) nature reserves. The surveys can be identification of what plants are present as well as occasionally establishing their abundance. PIG has two objectives when performing surveys; the first to provide good information for WWT, the second to ensure that its members enjoy themselves.
If you'd like to get involved with PIG please contact Andrew direct.
Other surveying groups
While PIG operates on nature reserves mainly in the southern part of the county, members of Stourbridge local group operate further north (Penorchard, Devil's Spittleful, Wilden Marsh, Chaddesley Woods, Knowles Meadow, Ipsley Alders and Bewdley Fields). If you'd like to get involved with them please email John or call him on 01384 443464.
In addition, another sub-group in the Malvern area is a more informal wildlife rambling/study group that enjoy looking more closely at the flora and fauna in the area (not just WWT reserves). Their aim is to try and identify anything they can find with the aid of reference books, other media and members' expertise. As with the two plant ID groups, experts and non-experts are welcome - learning, sharing knowledge and enjoying have a closer look at wildlife and making lists to pass on to more formal recorders are what it's all about. To get in touch and find out more email the Malvern group or phone Carol on 01886 884372.
PIG undertook some surveys recently at the WWT site at Hollybed Farm where there are two adjacent meadows - Middle Starling and Far Starling Bank. The reserve is a beautiful spot with meadows full of buttercups and other plants. However, Middle Starling has about 18 plant species whilst Far Starling Bank has 56.
In order to increase the number of plant species, and improve the habitat for insects, a hay cut from Far Starling Bank has been strewn onto Middle Starling. It is hoped that the seeds transferred in the hay will germinate in Middle Starling. This process will need to be repeated and monitored over several years to see that it works as expected.
The Coronation Meadow project is an initiative instigated by Prince Charles to celebrate surviving 'jewels in the crown'; places with a riot of colour and abundance of wildlife in settings that have largely remained unchanged since the Coronation. Each county has one Coronation Meadow that will be a 'donor' of seeds to create new meadows at recipient sites in the same county. Far Starling Bank is Worcestershire's donor meadow and the surrounding Hollybed Farm is the recipient.
In this way, new Coronation Meadows will be created, increasing the area of this valuable habitat, providing new homes for bees, butterflies and other pollinators and helping to secure our wild flower heritage for the next 60 years and beyond.