Earth Day 2015! Google Doodle, footprint calculator and CCF Oliver Rackham memorial walk at Hayley Wood

Happy Earth Day! I guess it’s a day when we celebrate this planet that we live on, all that it provides, and the diversity of life that can be found on it (and no where else in the universe, so far)!

GoogleDoodle Earth Day 2015

Google Doodle today. Tried to catch the rotating Earth over Southeast Asia 😛

GoogleDoodle pangolin

Comes with an ‘Earth Day Quiz – What is your animal?‘ too 😀

Apart from revelling in the cuteness of the animals and the awesomeness of Google in general, maybe take some time to calculate your footprint and see your impact on this Earth?

:/

:/ All the flying around :/

Even with going veg most of the time, cycling/walking/taking public transport to get around, recycling most of my waste, buying minimal things, the fact that I travel a fair bit jacks up my footprint :/ Can someone come up with an environmentally-friendly way of flying already?

Last Fri (17 April), I went for a nice walk in the woods with the Cambridge Conservation Forum (which I am, or was, student rep for). We went to Hayley Wood, as they do every year, to see the results of their coppicing work done in Nov last year. Coppicing is a way of managing woodlands, in the past for firewood and other wood products, but now mainly to encourage regrowth and allow light to reach the floor (they still do sell firewood and stuff).

Hayley Wood - ancient woodland

Hayley Wood – an ancient woodland (in existence before 1600) and the largest woodland in Cambridgeshire

Hayley Wood is famous for its oxlips (Primula elatior), and for 1B Ecology (2nd year module) we did come here to count oxlips with the 1B plant scientists. They’re apparently the first flowers to bloom, along with lesser celandines (Ranunculus ficaria), carpeting the floor with yellow, followed by the bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), and then the purple bugels (Ajuga repens). The wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa) is also an early spring flower. I wondered if the flower anemone was named after the sea one, or vice versa, and it turns out the sea anemone was named after the flower (according to Wiki anyway).

Spot the flowers!

Spot the flowers! Pale yellow=oxlips, dark yellow=celandines, blue=bluebells, white=wood anemone

Oliver Rackham, known as the father of British woodlands, was supposed to lead this walk, but had passed away earlier in March this year, and so the walk was held in memory of him. His first book was apparently on Hayley Wood, but he was perhaps most famous for The History of the Countryside (1986).

Looking at some plant or other

Looking at some plant or other (I’m not a botanist sorry)

Oxlips :)

Oxlips 🙂

I think vegetation is cool and plants are really important, especially cos they often define the habitat, but I definitely chose zoology for a reason. In contrast to our tropical forests back home, there really was nothing much but flowers, plants and trees to look at here. Butterflies, beetles and other critters weren’t out yet. Still though, the flowers are pretty and it’s interesting to know which species are ancient woodland indicators. Apparently Hayley Wood was first managed to supply firewood to the Bishop of Ely (might have been the founder of Peterhouse if it was early enough!), but was confiscated in the 16th century.

Floor carpeted with bluebells, oxlips and wood anemones :)

Floor carpeted with bluebells, oxlips and wood anemones 🙂

I learnt the difference between a forest and a woodland as well. A forest is often planted by the Forestry Commission and clear-felled for timber, or historically it was meant as a hunting ground (so apparently you could have a forest with no trees), while a woodland is what it says on the tin.

The Great Pond.

The Great Pond.

Actually counting tree rings; the tree was more than 100 years old.

Actually counting tree rings; the tree was more than 100 years old, but was felled to maintain the glade

More than 400 years old oak tree

More than 400 years old oak tree (Quercus robur)

Apparently having a mixed oak and ash woodland is a result of human management, cos naturally the ash would have crowded out the oak, which is a sun-loving plant.

Badger tunnel! Keeps out deer (invasive muntjac)

Badger tunnel! Keeps out deer (invasive muntjac)

Hayley Wood is managed to keep out deer, which prevents regrowth, so some parts of it is fenced. But muntjacs, a non-native invasive species, is small enough to squeeze through gaps and stuff, but that bend apparently is too difficult for them to negotiate, while badgers can still get through.

Pamela, who organises the trip, proposing a toast to Oliver

Pamela, who organises the trip every year, proposing a toast in Oliver’s memory.

Huge crowd attended (>50 people)

Fairly big crowd attended (>50 people)

Sun setting (at 8pm) to end the day

Sun setting (at 8pm) to end the day

That made for a pretty nice break from the stats modelling troubles I’ve been having with my project (:

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About Jocelyne Sze

I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
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