The Gateside Primary School eco-pupils have been working on the construction of a 'living willow' shelter and mammal surveys with NAC Volunteer Iain Kerr and the Garnock Valley Ranger.
Willow tree rods were freshly cut at Kilbirnie Lochshore and quickly transported to the wet area next to the Powgree Burn at Gateside Primary. Pupils pushed the cut ends into the soft ground, forming a rough circle, followed by more rods pushed in at a 45 degree angle.
This whole living structure was woven together and also tied at 'cross-overs' using string; spaces were left for an entrance and windows.The willow rods should root and will only need trimming to keep the shelter in good order. A log seat finished off the construction and furnishing project!
Pupils were also shown Longworth 'Live Mammal' traps and their function in capturing small mammals unharmed explained. One was set out for practice and next time several will be used to survey the grounds for mice, voles, etc.