By: Blonde Two
On Wednesday I went out with a group of young people on Dartmoor. Nothing new there you might say but this was a little bit different. I have recently approached Dartmoor National Park to see if they wanted another Volunteer Guide for their Educational Walks. They are a very friendly bunch and said yes despite the fact that my availability is somewhat limited. Wednesday’s outing was a chance for me to shadow a guide (the Boss Guide in fact) and start to get a feel for what they do.
This was less of a guided walk and more of a field trip which was great for me because I got to join in with the field work and learn loads about plant species, land use, tourism etc on Dartmoor. They (we) were studying (I think that is the right verb) transects (lines) across a path and monitoring the variety of plant species on and either side of the path. We did this by cunning use of a tape measure and a quadrat which is a square divided up into smaller squares (see picture below).
It was amazing to see how many different plant species we found on a path that I have walked many times. I was so bad at identifying them that I have determined to buy a wild flower book. Here are some examples but you will note that there is more than one species in each picture. See if you can match the names to the pictures (I am not going to try the Latin names this time for fear of embarrassment). Star Moss, Milkwort, Bedstraw, Tormentil.
How did you do? Most of us have quite a bit to learn and I am looking forward to learning more. For a bit of extra challenge, you could look up the medicinal properties of each one. They all have some useful claims to their names. If you feel like volunteering for Dartmoor National Park yourself, have a look here http://www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk/aboutus/vi-volunteers