Had a great day at work today!
I was put in charge of a volunteer group who came out to help us remove some Rhododendron at Penshaw Wood. I haven’t had a great deal of experience yet of leading groups so I was a little nervous but the day went really well.
The group of 7 were employees from Everything, Everywhere – a company which incorporates both Orange and T-mobile. A company policy allows them to take a day each year to help out a charity – in this case the National Trust.
After introducing myself, giving a bit of spiel about what we were doing and why, and going through all the relevant health and safety issues, we started on our task for the day.
Rhododendron is native to the Himalayas and was introduced to England as a garden plant in the middle of the 18th century, spreading to many woodland areas around the UK. It is an invasive plant and an aggressive coloniser that reduces the biodiversity value of a site, obstructing the regeneration of woodlands and preventing other species from growing by creating a very shaded woodland floor.
Many people point out that the flowers of the Rhododendron are attractive but essentially it has few other attributes that offset the negative impact it can have on a site that it invades and once it is established it is difficult and costly to eradicate.
As part of the management plan for Penshaw Wood we aim to remove as much as possible of this non-native species to try and encourage other native species to flourish.