Liberating balsam

During our recent Staff Development Festival, Hannah Smith joined the rest of her team in a bit of community work.


10:00am Rowntree Park and the date was set for our Staff Festival team day! A chance to give back and support the endless task of keeping York parks green and tidy.

In all honesty, I’d never even heard of balsam until our day in the park but by the end of the day I was more than familiar with the tall stem and helmet shaped flower head of a plant which is currently invading the banks of our river.

It was a beautiful morning, the team rocked up, parked bikes and loaded all bags into David B’s Kia Venga (our very own Venga Bus for the day!)

We’d arranged to meet Jen from the City of York council who talked us through the jobs in hand for our morning's work and the various tools and safety related information. By 10:15am the team were out in the field stripping back, hammering, pulling, cutting and digging. By mid morning, thistles had been threshed, fruit trees pruned, wooden fencing repaired and lime tree trunks trimmed and tidied.

After a swift coffee break (coffee purchased from the fabulous Reading Cafe), we ploughed on and started with the obsessive  task of tackling the Balsam. Thankfully the Balsam was easily identifiable, the lanky stems extend right along the banks of the Ouse smothering all life beneath. The roots of the plant are so short making it easy to pull up and the most satisfying bit was popping the hollow stem, not dissimilar to the satisfaction achieved from playing with bubble wrap.

Having spent the morning convincing the general public we weren’t doing Community Service, the team had a picnic lunch before embarking on a walk to Bishopthorpe. After some light refreshments, the return walk brought us back round full circle to the Venga Bus.

By the end of the day, laughs had been had, hands were grubby, food had been shared and legs most definitely ached but it was absolutely worth it! A great day was had by all and one that tee’d up Friday’s events well!

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