Ann is a long-term volunteer who has been a stalwart of Foresters’ Forest litter picks for several years. She has also become involved in the Waterways project which has thrilled and benefited her in a way she never would have expected!
“Littering really needles me and because of that I’m still loving the litter picking after all this time!” Said Ann. “What I find so satisfying about LOVE YOUR FOREST ”, she said, “is that, as an individual you can do a bit of litter picking, but when you involve a who group of people, it is possible to achieve so much and make a real impact. Doing it in a team is great fun and I find the litter picks are always well organised and short enough to make a difference without becoming tedious.” Ann explained. “Some locations have been so badly littered that we have had ‘rich pickings’ but it is so pleasing to see that we have made a significant difference to so many sites in the Forest.”
Ann has also felt that litter picking has played an Important part in spreading the word about not littering locally and has helped to make dropping it more anti-social. “Getting out and collecting litter has increased my appreciation of the Forest in all its aspects,” she said, “and I intend to keep on keeping the Forest tidy!”
Ann also attended a training day for Riverfly Sampling as part of the Waterways project as a bit of an experiment, not sure whether it would be right for her. “The training was really excellent,” she said, “and I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would. It gave me the confidence to do something new, and I’ve got so much out of it including making a really good friend.” She said. “Helping with these surveys has been a revelation and has given me a fun, educational and sociable activity each month.” Ann explained. “Once a month, I meet Alison at a specially selected location that is both near to a stream and a good café! We carry out our river sampling using a three-minute kick sample (which more enjoyable than it sounds!), we then assign different categories to the ‘creepy-crawlies’ collected which gives us a score to do with river water quality.”
The informative and social aspect of the Waterways surveying has surprised and pleased Ann. “Learning together, making discoveries and chatting about what we are doing has been really enjoyable.” She said. “Seeing a development through time has also been encouraging. We are discovering new things each time, getting better at identifying, seeing small but fascinating changes such as the size of larvae changing each month. I so look forward to each time we go out and really want to continue doing it.” She said.