A team of volunteers from HSBC Bank plc in Douglas recently helped the Manx Wildlife Trust with a number of key maintenance tasks at the nature conservation charity’s Cooildarry Nature Reserve.
At 18 acres, Cooildarry is the Trust’s largest woodland reserve and lies in a deep valley forming the upper part of Glen Wyllin. Most of the woodland, comprising both native and exotic species, was probably planted in the early part of the 19th century, although only a few of the original trees have survived as many were cleared during the First World War. When the Trust acquired the site in the 1970s it was extremely overgrown and a considerable amount of work was required to reinstate footpaths to allow for public access.
The nature reserve supports a range of valuable habitats for many species of fungi and wildflowers and 35 bird species have bred there, including sparrowhawk and raven. Management is significantly constrained by topography, ground conditions and access and so whilst the Manx Wildlife Trust’s regular team of volunteers, or “Midweek Muckers” as they’re more commonly known, successfully carry out some of the maintenance required each year, Reserves Officer, Tricia Sayle, was delighted to take up HSBC’s offer of additional help. Supervised by Tricia, Fundraising and Wildlife Advocacy Officer, Anne Marie Kilgallon and “Midweek Muckers” Alan, Godfrey and Terry, the volunteers from the Bank cleared elm wood, made one of the boundary fences more secure by replacing a number of the fence posts and also cleared an area of particularly invasive rhododendron. The Bank very kindly funded the cost of all of the materials and will also be buying some native trees for the “Muckers” to plant in the now rhododendron-free area.
Commenting on the day’s activities, Neil Helmer, HSBC’s Planning and Support Manager, said, “As Gold Corporate Members of the Manx Wildlife Trust, we are once again delighted to be able to provide practical support to the charity. Last year, some of our staff planted over 300 trees at the Trust’s nature reserve at Glen Dhoo and this year we’ve had a great time helping with a number of tasks at Cooildarry.” Neil went on to say, “The Bank currently allows all of its staff to spend one day every year volunteering with a local charity of their choice and some of the staff who helped out at Cooildarry have already asked if they can use their volunteer days to work with the Manx Wildlife Trust again – it’s a great opportunity for them to get hands-on experience of the Trust’s invaluable nature conservation work.”
The Manx Wildlife Trust would like to thank HSBC for their support and is looking forward to continuing to work with the Bank going forward.