Bury MBC Environment Week

Bury Countryside Rangers received a welcome push start from The Mayor Cllr Bill Johnson MBE and the Tottington Then and Now exhibition opened to mark the launch of Bury Metro Environment week 2000.

Sunday brought the Official Launch of Philips Park Local Nature Reserve with a brilliant Open Day full of activities and attractions. I can only comment on part of the day, as the pond was overrun constantly for over 3 hours with eager, enthusiastic pond dippers keen to discover the delights that lurked beneath the surface. When I eventually made my escape from the pond and got to the Barn, the BBQ had obviously tasted as good as it smelt - all the burgers had gone!!

Cherry was surrounded by would be willow weavers and a Viking had a group of children enthralled with his exciting and descriptive stories as Daveen passed by entertaining the Mayor and Mayoress. I by now had slumped into a secluded seat with a well deserved coffee, covered from head to toe with mud, pond weed and a variety of freshwater invertebrates. The day was a huge success with well over 600 visitors enjoying a fun filled family day out.

Stepping into Monday with its distinctive foot theme if not running but rambling and strolling throughout the day. The JOGLE 2000 walkers set off on the next leg of their march to Land's End, the Tottington Millennium Walks began, Hollins Vale was the site of a guided tour and the Rangers were walking for health.

Tuesday let you choose to green your group, take tots to tales, learn about the past through pictures or try out dry stone walling. After Bury Environmental Forum's AGM it was time for the bravest to pit their wits against the Queen of Environmental Quiz Questions - me! The teams puzzled through logos, films, books, acronyms the natural environment and even the past in their brain teasing battle to reach the ultimate first prize for Environmental Einsteins (the glory). The triumphant winners were the BEA Builders, Mike and the gang from Link House.

Wednesday had more tales and walks, and while some were discovering what kind of mini-beasts live in the pond and woods of Chesham, others searched the web for the environment.

Thursday, the Bug Box arrived in Ramsbottom, Totty Millennium Walks took 2 more routes and Gypsy Brook cleaned up just in time for a walk through Chesham Woods.

Saturday, the big day arrives; I'd got balloons, I'd got valves, would the gas have arrived? It was too late to panic now. The sports hall at Castle Leisure rapidly filled up with exhibitors involved with almost every aspect of the environment and Bury's first cycle show's arena covered a large corner. At 10am the Mayor announced the Fair open and Zambura announced the opening to the rest of the town centre with their earth-shaking samba sounds. The Mayor, Cllr Bill Johnson enthusiastically launched Bury's Tidy Britain anti chewing gum campaign with a blast on the Gum Buster at the front of the leisure centre, very reluctantly allowing other visitors a turn after blasting a sizeable area of pathway clear of discarded gum.

Inside, all ages were getting creative with GRUMPY's junk, weaving willow, fishing for litter in Water watchers pond and feeding a bat with bean bag bugs. The Physico theatre took the plunge to entertain and educate, as did the Zapp puppets. Balance and fitness were put to the test in the cycle show arena with wacky bikes, unicycles and even virtual cycles. Exhaust emissions were cut with magnets, stresses and strains soothed with crystals and emu oil. Muscles were massaged with oils, feet were made to tingle through reflexology and people unwound with hypnotherapy.

For those without time to grow their own organic produce there was not only information and advice, but free lessons and plant food. The Taste Connection brought a huge variety of organic goodies ready to take home and enjoy.

While visitors learned how to save energy, recycle their waste, home compost or create a wildlife garden, the Bug Man and his creepy crawly crew crept in for a repeat performance of their now famous touchy tales and slimy stories.

A continuous stream of people, some keen, some just curious, came to visit exhibitors old and new throughout the day, maybe learning a little more about the environment we live in, and its protection, but certainly enjoying the activities and presentations.

Sunday still found volunteers working on practical projects at Philips Park and enjoying the family trees walk at Chesham Woods.

Chesham Fold Residents took on the green theme at Gypsy Brook on Monday with the start of their own Environmental Arts week.

I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to make Bury Environment Week, Fair and first Cycle Show 2000 the most activity packed and fun to date. It couldn't have been done without you. See you all next time!

Louise Walsh, Bury British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (0161 796 6404, louisewalsh65@hotmail.com)

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© Networking Newsletter (Sept 2000)