Today we were fortunate to be joined at camp by a team of nine enthusiastic and eager volunteers from FXU - Falmouth and Exeter University's Student Union group which organises opportunities for students to volunteer with local organisations.
In the run up to children arriving for the first overnight camp of the season mid April there is much to do and the sight of a team of volunteers arriving was a welcome one as was the sun shining!
We split into 3 teams and got stuck in. One team headed to the orchard where our apple and plum trees needed some attention. Winter pruning had already been carried out by our regular gardening volunteer Becky and she had prescribed removal of the grass growing around the trees, a good feed of blood, fish and bone, new stakes and ties and the laying of weed proof membrane around them so they would no longer be competing with the grass for nutrients and water. As long as the deer don't beat us to them, children visiting camp should enjoy some delicious apples fresh from the orchard this Autumn!
Meanwhile Charlie and his team headed to the twelve year old woodland which borders camp to carry out some woodland management. While Ash has been deliberately planted as part of the desired native woodland mix, it is a prolific self seeder and if not kept in check can prevent much needed light reaching slower growing trees. Fortunately, it is also one of the best firewoods - burning green (freshly cut) and brown (seasoned) and is an essential resource at summer camp for campfires, heating water when the sun isn't shining for solar thermal and for firing up the cob oven to cook wood fired pizzas. Using pruning pull saws and lopers they cut, processed and bundled wood ready to restock the timber store.
The remaining team rolled up their sleeves and got to work planting fruit bushes kindly donated by Trevena Cross Nurseries. In addition to Blueberry and Gooseberry bushes they planted a Japanese Wineberry (similar to Raspberry with small very sweet red fruit), Boysenberry (a hybrid mix of Blackberry, Raspberry and Loganberry which is itself a hybrid of Raspberry and Blackberry!) and Lonicera caerulea - an edible honeysuckle which produces Honeyberries. These look and taste a lot like Blueberries but are longer in shape. We can’t wait for children to try these soft fruits in addition to the bumper crops of strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries and Tayberries which we enjoy through the summer. We’re also hoping to get our hands on some Chuckleberry Bushes before the season starts - as aside from the novelty of eating something called a Chuckleberry they are rumoured to make great jam, juice and ice-cream!
We’d like to say a huge thank you to today’s volunteers for choosing to spend their Sunday helping Camp Kernow in it’s work and another big thank you to Kristy and Sam at FXU for getting such a great team together.
There will be further volunteer days throughout the year - you can find out more about volunteering at camp here: www.campkernow.org.uk/get-involved/