Monday, 22 July 2013

Press Release - International Bog Day 28 July 2013

PRESS RELEASE    21 July 2013


Events at Malham Tarn, Settle, North Yorkshire.
28 July is International Bog Day
     “Save British bogs – and visit one on International Bog Day- 28 July 2013”
says bog-plant botanist Dr Judith Allinson.

Malham Tarn in North Yorkshire has internationally important wetlands including the Bog and Fen, and a series of events are being organised for the public over 27 -28 July ...

Judith, who will be leading guided walks at Malham Tarn Bog and Fen on 27-28 July says:     “I recommend Malham Tarn Open Days (27-28 July). This is an opportunity to visit Malham Tarn Field Centre and grounds which are not normally open to the public, and to see stalls set up by many community organisations. The walks and workshops are a chance to learn why Malham Tarn Bog and Fen are so special, and to be shown the names of some of the plants and animals. Children welcome.”

The events are being organised by Malham Tarn Field Centre (Sat and Sun), the National Trust (Sun), Craven Conservation Group and the Yorkshire Naturalists Union Fresh-Water Group (various times)

1. What is a bog?
2. Why are bogs important?
3. Why have peat bogs been lost?
4. Why is Malham Tarn Fen and Bog so important?
5. Activities at Malham Tarn 27-28 July
6. Some International Bog Day events in different countries.
7. Wildlife examples for Malham Tarn Bog and Fen
8. Settle Age UK and Bog plant display at St John's Methodist Church Hall,  Settle

Peat Bogs are important fascinating vital habitats.

1. What is a peat bog?
As organic material accumulates in a wetland area, the organic material becomes more acid. Sphagnum (Bog-moss) starts to grow. This is too acid for decomposition to occur, so the Sphagnum piles up and up and forms peat. The peat may be several metres deep. If the bog forms above water it may be a quaking bog.

2. Why are bogs important?
Peat bogs are important for carbon storage (to avoid global warming), for water storage (to avoid flooding and droughts) and for wildlife. Peat bogs take thousands of year to form. Pollen preserved in peat tells us about past vegetation. Archaeological remains have been found in peat.

3. Why have peat bogs been lost?
Many of Britain’s Wetlands and Peat bogs have been lost by drainage for agriculture or sheep grazing.  If the water table is lowered in the surrounding area, or if birch trees become established, or tracks and foundations are built on pristine bogs for wind turbines,  the bog can dry out. Carbon dioxide is then emitted rather than being absorbed.
Many of Britain’s Wetlands and Peat bogs have been lost by drainage for agriculture or sheep grazing.  If the water table is lowered in the surrounding area, or if birch trees become established the bog can dry out. Bogs in Britain and Ireland are lost because the peat is used for garden compost and for fuel (including for power stations). There is a conflict of interests.

4. Why is Malham Tarn Bog and Fen so special.
The bog is acid. Round the edge of Malham Tarn bog there are limestone springs, and limestone  grassland. There is a gradation of vegetation types from the acid to the limestone which has been lost in most other bogs in England.  There are many special rare plants and insects here. The Fen and Bog are part of a National Nature Reserve, and a Ramsar Site (Wetland  Site of International Importance).

 5. Activities at Malham Tarn 27-28 July
 Guided walks for plants (from Mosses to Sedges, Ferns  to Flowers) will be led by Judith Allinson  of Craven Conservation Group at 11.15 am  both days and at a later time during the day.(01729 822138 to book) . Freshwater investigations (pond dipping and workshops looking at the creatures in the lab under microscopes) will be led by Sharon and Peter Flint (of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union) on the Saturday at 1pm. This is part of the Tarntastic Open Days at Malham Tarn Field Centre, held to celebrate 70 years of  activity of the Field Studies Council (F.S.C.) .(The F.S.C. runs  17 Field Centres .. of which Malham Tarn was one of the first four to start. The F.S.C. has leased the centre from the National Trust since 1947, and runs plant, animal, ecology, geography, art and other creative courses for schools, universities and the public)   

The National Trust which owns the Malham Tarn Estate will be running family events on Sunday 28th from 11am to 3pm including pond dipping, craft activities and bird boxes. (01729 830416)  Malham Tarn Field Centre will be running some activities for children (01729 830331)

 6. Other events for International Bog Day include:
 The Northern Ireland Bog Snorkelling Championships at Peatlands Park
 ... Events in Chicago and Illinois  and British Columbia.

7. Wild life on  bogs and Wetlands at Malham Tarn
Examples of birds at or near Malham Wetlands: include: Curlew, snipe, redshank, golden plover, meadow pipit;  Insects: Great diving-beetles, dragonflies, damselflies and caddis-flies. Other animals: lizards, water-shrews. Plants: Carnivorous plants such as sundew, butterwort and bladderwort; Edible fruit: bilberry, cowberry, cloudberry, cranberry;  Beautiful flowers: bog asphodel, bog rosemary, cross-leaved heath; Mosses: In Britain there are 34 different species of Sphagnum (Bog-moss) of which half can be found at Malham Tarn. Amazing!.

8. As a precursor to International Bog Day Judith gave a workshop at St John's Methodist Church Hall, Settle to Settle Age UK, on Friday 19th July and with the help of the participants prepared a wall display which hall participants can enjoy..

Judith Allinson says
     "Do come to Malham Tarn - or visit a bog near you. Find out more about bogs from your local Natural History Society and avoid using peat-based garden compost."  

ENDS …………………………………………………………..

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