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The Great Outdoors

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 31.10.2016

Time: 11:48

As the winter months draw in, so too does the inclination to stay indoors, under a blanket, with a mug of hot chocolate, engrossed in whatever displays on the TV in front of us. For we all know that this time of year brings with it a common grumble in the air; that being the weather.

The weather dissuades us all from wanting to venture outdoors; meaning we so readily rely on our cars to take us from door to door. In fact, most of us just go into hibernation, waiting for the warmer months to come along, and attempting to venture outside as little as possible. However, as much as we are telling ourselves that its best to stay inside – in the warm - the truth of the matter is, we really do need the outdoors.

Lucy McRobert, nature matters campaigns manager for The Wildlife Trusts said: “By interacting with (nature), spending time in it, experiencing it and appreciating it we can reap the benefits of feeling happier and healthier as a result.”

So even just a little time outdoors can benefit you, meaning that replacing that regular car journey to the shops could do you the world of good. Somehow, we need to integrate the outdoors into our lives, whether it be replacing our mode of daily transport or even purposely taking the time out in the day to make a conscious effort to go for a walk.

But if you want a purpose for going outside, then why not join in with one of the Forest for Peterborough Tree Planting Days? This is a great opportunity to help create more green spaces in Peterborough whilst enabling you to experience the great outdoors.

The challenge this autumn is simple: make time for the outdoors, because, “Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our health” – Richard Louv.

Michaela Anthony is the Digital Marketing Apprentice at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT).

Tags:

#GreatOutdoors
#ForestforPeterborough

PECT as a charity

Category: General

Date: 26.10.2016

Time: 10:14

I sometimes get asked what it’s like to work at PECT. I always answer that it’s rather great. Don’t get me wrong – as a very small team trying to achieve a big impact, it means hard work and long days. And as a charity, we really do try and do everything on a small budget while still trying to achieve the most we can to improve the lives of local residents, and for the environment and wildlife.

However, it’s great to work with people who care so passionately about what they’re doing and what they’re trying to achieve. To work for a charity, you are honestly doing it because you really care about what your organisation is working towards.

And as a charity, we vitally need the support of people to continue our work – whether it’s partnerships with other delivery partners, corporate sponsorship, grant funders or members of the public donating or giving time by volunteering. We’re so very grateful for everyone’s support: it makes a huge difference to what we can achieve.

In this role, working across the entirety of our projects – it has been fantastic to meet so many people and have had the opportunity to see how our work affects local residents in very many ways: whether it’s working with communities, businesses or schools. One day I might be working on our affordable warmth projects, the next I could be picking up a spade and planting trees on a Forest for Peterborough day, or perhaps hearing about the community café that will be serving local and sustainable food when it opens in Westwood and Ravensthorpe.

It means a lot that people want to hear more about what we’re doing and get involved. If you would like to do the same, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. Email info@pect.org.uk – we’d love to hear from you! You can also make a difference by getting involved with volunteering – email volunteering@pect.org.uk.

Laura Fanthorpe is Marketing and Communications Manager at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT).

Tags:

#TeamPECT
#Volunteer

The changing of the seasons

Category: General

Date: 03.10.2016

Time: 11:20

Trees have been given a new palette of colour, from vibrant reds to vivid oranges and flashes of brilliant yellows. With a sea of woolly hats, scarfs and gloves… but “hold on, hold on” I’m still in a t-shirt with the windows wide open! Ok, so it’s not autumn just yet but the changing seasons are fast approaching and before you realise it autumn has passed and winter is with us.

It’s not too long before we change the clocks. The nights are now longer than the days and remarkably trees are able to sense this loss of light due to chemical light receptors within their leaves. Trees can detect day-length changes by as little as half an hour and when the receptors are triggered the tree’s leaves begin to undergo chemical and physical changes that will produce all the vivid colours seen during the autumn season. 

So what is happening? (In a condensed version):

Chlorophyll is a green pigment that allows plants to absorb sunlight and turn it into food that can be stored for winter. While trees are in leaf they will create chlorophyll as fast as they use it up, allowing the leaves to stay green. But as the days shorten this process begins to slow down and the production of chlorophyll is reduced until, finally, it stops altogether. This is due to the fading light and decreasing temperatures, which trigger the tree’s eventual dormancy period.

As the chlorophyll draws back, other pigments begin to appear like carotenoids that will produce yellows and oranges. This pigment is present throughout the growing season, however it is masked by the stronger green pigment within the chlorophyll. Once chlorophyll has reduced the carotenoids then come into their own and give leaves a new burst of colour.

However, this is not the only pigment involved in this process. We have another called anthocyanins that produce reds and browns, not only adding colour but also helping to lower the leaf’s freezing point. This gives some vital protection from the cold, allowing the leaves to remain in place for longer, thus giving more time to absorb vital nutrients to send into storage for the winter months ahead.

The precise timing of the colour shift is genetically controlled while weather and soil moisture can affect the quality of the autumn colours. A summer drought can delay the changes in the leaves by a few weeks while a warmer spell will tone down the autumn colours.

As all of the above takes hold, head outside, take in as much colour as you can, collect those remaining apples from the trees and enjoy my favourite season: autumn.

Simon Belham is the Forest for Peterborough Project Officer.

Tags:

#ForestforPeterborough