My name is Daniel Meech and I am entering my second year of college at Bohunt Sixth Form, I study Environmental Science, Biology and History and am looking at going to Sparsholt for university to attain a career in Ecology. I have spent a week with PeCAN to gain a better understanding about our environment through the experts that work there as well as the events they do.
My work experience week began in Winton House with PeCAN's weekly Eco Café where they discuss events as well as interesting and current news surrounding the environment and climate such as the recent invasion of Asian hornets into the southern coast of the UK from mainland Europe.
These hornets feed on the native bees and wasps, damaging the precious biodiversity of the UK. Find out more here: Asian hornet invasion. Next, I visited refill shop Refill and Replenish across the road which allows you to fill your own containers with all kinds of soaps, washing up liquids and dried foods. This helps prevent waste from throwing away your old shampoo bottles and saves valuable energy and resources recycling and creating new ones in factories.
I then created a poster to advertise for PeCAN's upcoming events such as the Petersfield Toy Swap, the Apple Tasting Day at Blackmoor Estate and the Tree Festival at Petersfield Community Garden. Finally, we met with East Hampshire District Council Officer Pennie Brown who discussed PeCAN's events and how they can help through securing funding and providing support.
On Wednesday I visited two tree farms called Southern Fruit Trees and Blackmoor Nurseries to begin the discussion on supplying PeCAN for their ‘A Fruit Tree In Every Garden’ initiative. I learned about how a fruit tree is grown. They plant a rootstock for it to be actively growing in the summertime before using a technique called grafting to cut a bud out of a growing tree as well as cutting another similarly sized hole in the rootstock. You then place your bud and attach it using grafting tape which you wrap around the bud and rootstock to keep it dry. At Blackmoor nurseries I learned that they source their water from a borehole away from their farm, which is pumped into two large water storage silos to then be used on their fruit bushes and potted trees.
On Thursday I attended ACAN and PeCAN's Heatwave Forum in Alton which discussed how you can take action to make life more comfortable as temperatures are increasing. There were 4 speakers who are all experts in their field. This included: Andy Moffat who is a Trustee of Petersfield Society and Convenor of Green Infrastructure Group, Peter Moss who is a Trustee of PeCAN and the Project Leader for Petersfield SuperHomes, Melanie Oxley also a Trustee of PeCAN as well as the Project Leader for Engaging with Nature Recovery and Jenny Griffiths, a Trustee of ACAN and a former Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health.
They all gave fascinating talks about the impacts of the heatwave as well as what we can implement into our home. This could be either through new technologies or actively setting up your home through keeping windows and blinds closed during the day to keep the hot air out. It is also recommended to remove any plants within our homes which have increased evaporation during hotter weather which leads to higher humidity inside.
On Friday I learnt how to use the website and upload this blog, which is next to many other interesting articles about Petersfield and the surrounding area. It was interesting to see how the website functions and learn how to write more clearly and attempt to capture the reader's attention. I had not previously written a blog so this provided a really useful experience and was amazing to learn from Ruth, one of PeCAN's project officers.
On Sunday I attended the Hay Day event at Adhurst allotments which was really fun. I helped with setting up the PeCAN stall and we were really lucky with the weather. The event was well attended and everyone enjoyed it. I was able to see their recently planted Japanese style orchard, a Miyawaki Forest, and learn why this was useful for our environment. I was taught how to use a scythe which was way more exciting to use than a lawn mower. At the end we all enjoyed either a cider or apple juice together which was donated from local company Mr Whiteheads Cider Company which was lovely.
I have really enjoyed this week working with PeCAN and learning how a climate change charity operates. What PeCAN do is very important for people now as well as people in the future and every event they do benefits the community as well as our environment. Overall, I have been able to see how hard working they all are to help the people of Petersfield and the surrounding area to have a positive impact on the environment.