On a cold, clear Saturday in November, 15 Students from the Bangor University Conservation Society wrapped up warm and headed into the heart of Snowdonia. Their mission for the day was to help the Snowdonia Society clear Rhododendron ponticum from Nant Gwynant.
Rhododendron ponticum is a non-native, invasive species which quickly takes over large areas. It is of little benefit to native wildlife found in the UK and, as it’s leaves are toxic, cannot be controlled by grazing. Snowdonia Society volunteers spend hundreds of hours each year cutting it as close to the ground as possible, preparing it to be sprayed with herbicides by Snowdonia National Park Authority contractors.
The students arrived bright and early and quickly set to work. Meghan McBlain was there on the day and said “At the start of the workday I was determined to expose a wall I could see peeking through a huge pile of rhododendron, after 5 (hard-working) hours flew by, my challenge was complete! Despite being covered in dirt, and being slightly achey the next day the satisfaction of achieving a goal and seeing the views of Snowdonia covered in snow was definitely worth it.”
Jordan Mann found the experience particularly useful he said “it was a great experience for me as I’d never tackled something on quite that scale before. I want to get into this line of work so it was invaluable for me to be able to do that.”
A big thank you goes out to the group who were enthusiastic and hard working and really got stuck into the task. We hope we’ll see them on another workday soon! Danielle Hunt, who contacted us to arrange the workday said “I know we all really enjoyed the workday clearing Rhododendron, we had a beautiful day with stunning views of the snowy mountains and lots of laughter- it was a very rewarding and enjoyable day!”
If you know of or are part of a group who would like a similar opportunity, please do get in touch with either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.