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Monday, July 14, 2014

Balsam is choking our natural plants

Community Conservation Event   
Friday 18 July &

Saturday 19 July 
from  11am
Kings Norton Park
All ages welcome!

Have you seen the 
canal feeder lately?

Himalayan Balsam
     Clearance       
is needed before its seeds disperse.  
It is beautiful but it is invasive and choking out natural plant species along our water courses.  The result is less natural species, less wildlife and damaged banks. 
It’s easy to clear but it takes lots of helping hands to make an impression. 

Please join us if you can and bring your friends and family too

After clearing Balsam you could on

Friday  Water Quality Test

Saturday   Picnic after? 

If you are a member of community group, local organisation or work for an employer who likes to take part in environmental and community activities please encourage them to come along.  If these occasions are unsuitable we can always arrange alternative convenient dates and times.   
Thank you in anticipation of your support.

CONTACT US

 @kingsnortonpark


Friday, July 4, 2014

HAPPENING IN THE PARK

'you can join in - its your open space to love and use'


Our first Cox's Orange Apples soon ripe for picking
Hello, things having been moving at a fast pace this year with Water and Flowers dominating the first half of our parks season, and my what a lot we have learnt. We have been fortunate to have been trained by experts in both water testing and wild flower meadow identification, these are worlds with our worlds and very fascinating.  You can join in any training events and activities in which we will try to share our knowledge.  Below are some planned things and other things waiting to be planned - you can join in planning too. 

We are really pleased all comments have been positive about our newly installed benches and picnic benches - you have justifiably pointed out more strategically placed bins - one by the picnic benches and a couple nearer to the skateboard park.  This may take a while as we work out where to get funds from. 

We will also having to defend our green open spaces once more this year as even more council cuts are planned - we will keep you posted on any formal consultation. 

We love the fact we have our first Cox's Orange apples - tweet us what you love about you park @kingsnortonpark


FORTH COMING EVENTS 2014
Quick email to tell you about a couple of events we are planning for this summer. We are down the park very much every Friday around 11 am so if you pop down we are mostly somewhere by the flower beds or water courses.  We are aiming to have some events on a Saturday please let us know what you would like to do and if you would like to help to organise them info.foknp@gmail.com @kingsnortonpark

Assessing sample: fascinating underwater world not too wriggly after all
Friday 4 July 10.30am Our final Freshwater Invertebrate Network training at 10.30am meet in the Playing Fields if you are interested in taking a look what is in the River Rea you are welcome to join us, good news is we found no shopping trolleys!  If you wish to take part you will need wellies and strong legs - the water is not deep but the current can be surprising strong so care is needed with youngsters.  We have found fish we never thought existed and lots of indicators that the river is of a good quality. We will incorporate FIN in some of our future events. 

Relaxing River Rea Meadow after flower ID course 20 June
Saturday 5 July 11 am meet in Kings Norton park for a wild flower walk and talk followed by art and/or if you prefer water testing the Waterside Care way.  We are very pleased that Mary Green will give some of her busy time to walk around our green spaces and tell us about some of the interesting properties of our native flora and forna.  She will share folklore, medicinal properties and olden day uses.  You can collect grasses of your choice and create an artistic photosynthesis print with Ann who we met at a recent event at Winterbourne Gardens.    We have been working on our wild flower meadow and will be putting on our blog spot our recent survey of the River Rea Meadow.  This was supported by Nature Improvement Area scheme who are part of the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust.

Friday 11 July 10.30am Upper Civic Garden Commemorative Shrub Bed Planting
We will begin planting our commemorative flower bed, recognising those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in past conflict and look towards a peaceful future.  We have chosen red and white planting to represent this, red representing sacrifice and white peace.  You are welcome to join us and if you wish to bring a poem to read or bring your message.  We hope to finish at 12.30am,  If its dry we will picnic in the park if not we will retire to The Camp.    James from Birmingham City Council will join us at 11 am for a tree survey - you may have noticed that some of pine trees are looking a little poorly and may need some attention.  

Saturday 12 July 10am  At Kings Norton Village Festival 2014 
We shall have stall at Kings Norton Festival where we will discuss future plans, make a silk poppy to put in the commemorative bed and write messages of peace to hang in our orchard.   Our consultation for wetland will be resurrected as we have new hopes for landfill funding - currently we are assessing where best to place our bid to purchase a board walk and dipping platform, so long as the NIA will still fund the scrape and wetland vegetation. 

Friday 18 July 11am Big Balsam Bash begins
Balsam picking or strimming along the canal feeder begins and will continue through the summer look out for Saturday work.  It's really easy to pull out, stamp on and pile up. It all sounds extremely unfair but it is necessary because balsam is invasive it takes up all the space preventing native vegetation and once it dies away leaves gaps which contribute to the erosion of the bank.   Once we get started we cant stop...who knows we may see water!   TVC are coming for a site visit to look at where we could plant some more edibles and if they could offer us conservation support.  

Friday 25 July Kings Norton Village Festival 2015 Planning Meeting
We will  meet with KNHistory Society, Friends of Historic Kings Norton and Worcester Birmingham & Droitwich Canal Society to continue planning the bicentenary celebrations of the completion of the canal.   200 years ago is really where modern Kings Norton began.   We are hoping all local groups, schools and organisations will wish to be involved for the boating festival which will take place over weekend of 10-12 July 2015.  Also really hope Billy Whizz and other exciting boats will moor up - history, music, ales, nature, arts, sports and more. You can help

FURTHER EVENTS THAT YOU WILL PROVIDED WITH MORE DETAILS OF SOON

Friday Aug 1
Activities with Rangers to be agreed so look out for a poster in the notice board.  Probably include Balsam Bashing too and we may offer Waterside Care and FIN too. 

Monday Aug 4 Friday NOT IN THE PARK IN YOUR HOME
Everyone is being asked to light a candle, safely, in their homes on this evening as part of a candlelit vigil in commemoration of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in WW1 This is day in history when Britain declared war on Germany, because Germany did not respect Belgium’s neutrality as it implemented the Schlieffen Plan, a plan to march through and take what it believed was a weekend France – it do so killing thousands of civilians and destroying the country.   Most historians conclude Great Britain had no choice however, the length and tactics employed caused the death of hundreds and thousands is a subject for debate. We must recognise that we knew what to take place and those making decisions then did not.

Friday 15 August and Saturday16
We have rangers with us and likelihood is if not too late we balsam bash, if it is we have other activities – may start earlier than 11am

Saturday 23 August
11am summer rounder’s fun and other games, led by rangers and friends

Friday 30 August
Is international bat night so we are walking where we know we find them.  We are taking park in an UK wide bat study which is being run because bats are so near extinction.

Friday 5 Sept
Activities in the park Also Waterside Care and FIN testing

Saturday 20 Sept 11am
Friends Committee meeting at KN Library – but we invite anyone who wants to discuss getting involved to come along.

Please check the noticeboard periodically and the BlogSpot which will be updated soon and give us a tweet – nice to hear about your fun in the park and comments  

HAVE A GREAT SUMMER and dont forget to contact us!


@kingsnortonpark



Sunday, June 1, 2014

Friends Of Kings Norton Park 
Social AGM Gathering  on Friday 13 June 7pm at KN Bowling Club Wychall Lane 
We aren’t superstitious we know you’ll have a great time!

We are inviting you to our AGM social gathering

We are transforming our AGM into an annual social gathering so we have done the business in record time, we will have a talk about Bees from Jan of Birmingham Bees, listen to music from the talented Ingrid (accordion) and Tim Martin (ukulele) whom we are very lucky to have joining us.   Then we can break for fish & chips, chatting and a bit of quiz also invited Sue Amey, Birmingham Constituency Parks Manager N&E&SO, the Lickey Hills Ranger and Lee Copplestone (Waterside Care) will be there to chat to too.

Arrive from 7pm on Friday 13 June 2015 at Kings Norton Bowling Club (who kindly provided us with a free room - a big thank you) which is family friendly so bring partners, friends and children.  If you are travelling from the Westhill Road (runs along the eastside of Kings Norton Park) KNBC is about 5 minutes along Wychall Lane, on the left hand side just before junction with The Fairway.



Just a minute to tell you what we have been doing
Our team of activists have been busy and will tell you in ‘Just a minute’ slots some of things we have or are doing – you can approach them to find out a little more throughout the evening and if you are inspired to join in leave your contact details. .
Our AGM will elect officers and the 2015 committee and would welcome more people to grow our activity base.  You can email us at info.foknp@gmail.com  
beforehand and we will call you for a chat or let us know at the AGM.  Our aim in a nutshell is to help improve, protect, and to increase access and enjoyment in our green spaces (Park & Playing Fields, including canal side).

We are a voluntary group without funding so will be scanning charity and trusts websites to search for funding for the type of things we wish to deliver – maybe your employer or organisation might like to support us or you could apply to a patron?   Sharing in this way is both rewarding and good fun, you do as much or as little as you want, and anything is something and that something is usually very positive.  Of course if you can’t contribute in any other way but wish to make a small donation this would be gratefully received. 

Notably in 2013/14 we were extremely fortunate to receive a Big Lottery Grant which has helped install new parks furniture (bins, picnic benches and a noticeboard) as well as develop our wildflower meadow through NIA, plant trees with local schools and the Deutsch Bank with Birmingham Trees for Life, host a wild bird display at our open day event and enhance the lower civic garden bed after the severe weather withered the original planting.   A big thank you to all of those involved it has been productive and entertaining.  

Water part of the course!

2014/15 has started off a bit wet in more ways than one, we have been Freshwater Invertebrate Network surveying in the River Rea – part of a scheme to test the quality of the Rea from its source, and so far the results have been very pleasing, with medium quality water indicative by fish finds.  Not wishing to leave the W&BD canal feeder and Lint Brook out, we have covered testing their water quality through TTAP a series of scientific measures – Temperature, Turbidity, Ammonia and PH, results show we have good results supported by Waterside Care.

We shall continue testing water,  surveying our meadow and also be included in a in a bat survey which is part of the Brum Bats wider survey to monitor whether or not the bat population has reversed their decline from dangerously low levels.  

Exciting this afloat in 2015

There is exciting news on the horizon for 2015 when we come together with the Worcester Birmingham and Drotiwich Canal Society, Kings Norton History Society and Historic Kings Norton Green, and other local community groups and organisations to deliver a bi-centenary celebration (that’s 200 year’s) of the completion of the Worcester Birmingham & Drotiwich Canal.  Activities will take place on the Green, the Park/Playing Fields and the canal side during the weekend of the Kings Norton Village Festival 2015.  

We hope to have things going on over the whole weekend of 10-12 July 2015 - experience boats, music, a bar, community activities, bees, bats, donkey’s, history, bowls, croquet, other sports, etc.  Our aim is encourage local employers, charities and community groups to contribute by putting on activity or sponsoring one – do you know anyone who could deliver an activity, bring something interesting along, or provide a grant?  Please do get in touch.   There is a twitter account @KNVF2015 an email kingsnortonvillagefestival2015@gmail.com and soon to be a blogspot kingsnortonvillagefestival2015@blogspot.co.uk.

See you Friday 13 June for the Friends Of Kings Norton Park Social AGM Gathering
We aren’t superstitious we know you’ll have a great time!

Follow the Friends of Kings Norton Park @kingsnortonpark

more photos to follow... sorry its sunny outside!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Walk Talk Stay Play - a guided walk and/or activity in the Park


Fancy a walk in our beautiful Kings Norton natural corridor ?Friday 25 April  11am

Photo by Lynn Horsnett Bee in KN Wild Flower Meadow

Meet on the Green outside St Nicolas Place at 11am

This is a FREE event lead by local Friends groups


Please wear suitable shoes fit for the Park and mud tracks of the nature reserve.  The first half of the walk is accessible by wheels.   Tired legs can stay and/or play in the pleasant surroundings of Kings Norton Park whilst others complete the more rugged terrain of the nature reserve. 

We finish back at the Green about 1pm for refreshments in the Old Grammar School if you can’t make the stairs you are welcome to use the cafĂ© in St Nicolas Place.
We shall be discussing local history, share your stories and knowledge, looking at nature and having a quiz along the way and sharing a cuppa and snack afterwards.

The circular route, I guess is around 2.5 miles long and we think it will take us a couple of hours, we shall walk
The Plumbers Arms M&B was demolished (also lost was The Bell) to build larger pubs with gardens and family rooms
·         The Green – St Nicolas Place
·         Kings Norton Playing Fields
·         Canal side
·         Kings Norton Park
·         Kings Norton Nature Reserve
·         Back to Green – Old Grammar School

You can complete the walk or pop back to the Park at any point.

Nothing too strenuous or taxing, some stuff you might not know about our past and a bit of fun in a very lovely part of the Kings Norton ward for the Easter holidays - fingers crossed for dry weather.
Here's a couple of  Easter jokes to get the kids warmed up!
 
How does the Easter Bunny stay fit?   Egg-xercise!
 
What do you call a rabbit that tells good jokes? A  funny bunny!
 
Bring your own jokes and parents!

Happy Easter Everyone!

More information:  info.foknp@gmail.com
Kings Norton Green around 1909

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring into March with activities 2014 so far...



News from the Park
@kingsnortonpark
March 2014 - ADDED  DETAILS APRIL, MAY & JUNE 

Dear friend of Kings Norton Park

Fingers crossed, the deluge season stops soon and the suns breaks through lasts and feeds us the crocus and daffodils.  Purple, yellow and white is peeping though our borders to bring that refreshing splash of spring colour.   During the dark early months of the year we have been considering some new ventures, some things we should revisit and how we as a community support the environment and encourage out of doors activities to suit all tastes and abilities.




Thank you first and foremost.

We commence 2014 by thanking
everyone who has managed to do
something towards helping to keep
our flower beds neat, to litter pick,
help to organise or take part in
environmental activities and events,
who has explored or put in bids,
represented us at other green forums,
attended training, purchased new
equipment or carried out the essential
but less than glamorous administration
and financial functions all of which
are equally valuable and enhance
experiences in our park.   Thank you.





The realisation of our planning
relies very much upon the contribution of volunteers and a continued good working relationship with our Birmingham City Parks Department, local ranger team, wider support of elected representatives and other local groups.  We encourage joint working for and hope local people and groups will link up to deliver projects or events - please do get in touch there is something for everyone.



Budget News   

Birmingham City Council has just set another budget which significantly reduces spending on essential services which will change the face of the public services.   The Government is cutting back on funding for local councils. No matter what our point of view may be regarding making cuts, it cannot be denied it will have an impact on vulnerable people in our community. One thing we can do is try to help improve the experience of local residents who will be affected could be to help protect our  natural environment for the future and in those surroundings develop activities which does not cost families large sums of money.  

The Friends of Kings Norton Park voiced its concerns about budget cuts during the consultation process, we made representations to other groups, attended public meetings and responded online because initially BCC were proposing devastating losses to parks - many jobs and play areas were to go and services were to be withdrawn.  
A budget rethink by the Council was welcomed Our Friends group was concerned at one point that there was an implication that volunteering could be used as an alternative to trained directly employed staff.  Birmingham Open Spaces Forum (BOSF) facilitated joined up working with other parks and green groups across Birmingham which may have influenced a BCC Parks Budget rethink to a reduced £600k cut instead of a £2m (since then I have heard an extra £400k cut has been added)   BOSF and BCC has piloted a 
BeActive initiative in 5 of the city’s parks and through public health policies is extending this provision to 50 more outdoor spaces – we may be fortunate to become one.  It will bring funding for healthy activities which do not necessarily have to be sporty.   

Our Friends are clear that we have only achieved any improvements to our park because of the positive working relationship we have with BOSF and parks staff, especially our Constituency Parks Manager, Sue Amey and local rangers from the Lickey Hills hub.  If you are interested delivering activities in Kings Norton Park please let me know, coaches will need to get insured and undergo normal safeguarding checks.



You may be aware that there is also a new BCC policy for dog owners, it covers things like where you should walk your dog on a lead, strict rules governing dog fouling, bans them from play areas and introduces spot fines.  Dog foul has become an increasing problem in our Park and poses health risks if not cleaned up.   Local nursery children mentioned dog pooh as one of the things they disliked about our Park in our consultation exercise about play.     You can now put dog foul inside a plastic bag and into any ordinary council bin. 

Our Friends group does not charge for membership and relies on donations.  If you wish to make a donation please do so at one of events. 

2014 Activities Update

January was a complete wash out so we started planning.

February we were off site at Ley Hills Park for Freshwater Vertebra Network Training a project with Birmingham Black Country Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency, encouraging local groups and residents to help survey parts of rivers and their tributaries to support fish, invertebrate, small mammals and birds.  www.yourstream.org.uk Friends of Kings Norton Park will test the river rea inside its stretch of the park during this year at the same time some upriver groups like Balams Wood, Friends of River Rea and Friends of Kings Norton Nature Reserve.  We were trained to identify various types of stream life eg) moth and fly larvae, bugs, shells, mites and worms. I discovered under a microscope they are fascinating and far more attractive than I imaged.  We were shown how to identify different types of pollution too and were let loose, with wellies and nets, into Merritt’s Brook and the Bourn.  The resulted pleased the experts and were submitted as part of a national survey.   If you want to learn how to test the water or have a local group of people who would like to take part in our testing later in the year please get in touch.  Day two of our training will take place in onsite on Friday 28 March at 11am; meet at the POD on this occasion. 
 
March we have sprung into action installing our new lockable Friends noticeboard purchased with funds from Big Lottery and installed by our wonderful Rangers, Steve, Adam, Dave and Robert – may thanks.   This will act as focal point for sharing information and compliment to the BlogSpot.  
We also invited Lee Copplestone to explain WaterCare UK projects aims and what we might achieve together, for example raising water course cleanliness, opening up a view to the canal, however, but these rely on your support.  Together we litter picked along the canal feeder in the playing fields In just  1½ hours 10 bags of rubbish were collected  a bit concerning! 




A Farmers Market stall in March with Friends and the Millennium Fields Trust to chat to you about building a programme for 2014 and your ideas pop and see us but remember you can always catch at other friend’s activities or via email.  

Our committee meeting was held on Friday 14 March 2pm at the Lickey Hills the rangers and Lee Copplestone were able to join us - thanks for the venue an coffee chaps!  A very productive and enjoyable planning meeting sharing great ideas. 



The following week, Friday 21 March, the Friends of Kings Norton Park will attend a planning session with Worcester, Birmingham and Drotiwich Canal Society, Kings Norton History Society, Bham CC N&E Parks Manager, St Nicolas Place, Millennium Fields Trust and Lifford Business Association, exploring a possible festival celebrating 200 years of our canal in 2015.  We will keep you posted!

April Two accessible picnic tables have been ordered.  We are awaiting delivery and installation and thinking of siting one in the Park by the children’s playground next to the canal feeder and the other in a quieter spot behind the Library overlooking the playing fields.  Tell us what you think.

2014
Notable Dates
INFORMATION ONLY
FRIENDS of KNP  EVENTS
Check noticeboard & Blog for updates
PROGRESS

January

27-Holocaust



×    Friday January 3 rained off
FIN & Keep Britain Tidy
Explore Be Active Parks
Materials for memorial activity
Reports request SA
February
20 World Social Justice
17 half-term
×    Friday February 7 activity at Ley  Hills Park - Fin Training attended
FIN training course or litter pick
Assess flower beds
Programme 2014
A4A Monitoring form
March


1 St David’s
8 Int Women’s Day
16 St Patricks Day
21 Int Eliminate Racial Discrimination
22 KNNR clean up
24 KNHS Talk
×  Tues 4 March BCC Budget Set
×   Friday 7 March 10.30am Friends active in Park
×   Sat 8 Farmers Market stall 9am
×   Mon 10 March BOSF meet 5pm
×   Friday 14 March 2 pm group  meet at Lickeys Hills
×   Friday 21 March WB&DC planning 12pm Library
×   Friday 28 March FIN Day2 11am meet at POD in playing field
×   Friday 28 March NEF Oddingly Hall 2pm
Budget cuts engagement
Litter pick canal feeder playfields
Install noticeboard
BOSF Insurance
Lock on POD
Order paint for benches
AGM social talk, food & music Walk

April

18- 21 Easter Weekend
23 St Georges Day
28 Workers Memorial
×   Friday 4 April Friends active in Park - flower beds 
×   NEW Friday 25 April Walk talk stay play - local history walk quiz little ones activity in park and refreshments in Old Grammar School . Meet 11am at The Green, to Playing Fields, Canal, Park and nature reserves.
Plant up Memorial Garden Bed
Plan activities for Be Active
Install Picnic benches
May


1 Int Workers Day
5 May Day B/H
17 KNNR Open Day
26 May Spring B/H
×   NEW Friday 2  May Friends and FIN River Rea dipping and finding underworld waterlife.  Join us at 1`0.30am meet in Car Park.
- NEW Friday 16 May Waterside sampling care for the canal feeder & Lint Brook working with keep Britian tidy - litter pick too.
×   Sat 17 May KNNR Open day activities
Flower Bed Tidy
AGM social plans

June


5 World Environment
 20 Refugee Day
23 World Public Service
16 June BOSF AGM
×    Friday 6 June Friends active in  Park
×    NEW Friday 13 June evening social at Kings Norton with AGM talk music food and social at Kings Norton Bowling Club at 7pm
×    Tues 24 June 6pm NCEF

Prepare memorial activity
Officers elections on 13 June
July

Sat 5 July Cocomad
11 World population
18 Nelson Mandela
25 July Love Parks Wk
×   Friday 4 July Friends active in  Park
×   Saturday 12 July Kings Norton  Festival - conflict and peace poppy making and messages
Plan River Rea sampling
Stain glass windows nature images

August

4 WWI commemorate
12 Youth Day
23 Anti-slavery Day
25 Summer B/H
×   Friday 1 Aug Friends active in  Park
×   Sat 16 Aug - Balsam Bash canal  feeder
Balsam clearance
Keep Britain Tidy

Sept

11-14 Heritage wknd
21 Int Day of Peace
×   Friday 5 Sept Friends active in  Park
×   Sat 20 group meet 11am Library
×    Tues 30 Sept 2pm NCEF
River Rea Sampling

October
31 Halloween
×   Friday 3 Oct Friends active in Park

Meadow cut collect mow seed
November


11 Remembrance Sunday
16 Tolerance
25 Elimination of violence against women
×   Friday 7 Nov Friends active in Park
×   Sat 25 Nov group meet 11am Library
Playing fields canal clean up
Review of 2014

December
1 World Aids Day
×   Friday 5 Dec Friends active in Park
×   Friday 12 Dec 12 pm NCEF
Planning
2015

WB&D Canal
Bicentenary Celebration
×   June/July  (tbc)
In conjunction WB&DCS and local community

June   You may have noticed we are going to try something a bit different this year for our AGM we would like grow an evening with more of a social emphasis.  Considering an interesting talk, followed by music, food and possibly a bar.  If you fancy this sort of an event or have any suggestions on a suitable local venue, refreshment or entertainment providers please share.  Likewise for any future skills share, funding opportunities or reliable contacts - the more active we become the more likely we are to see things we want to in our park.

These dates are subject to postponement due to inclement weather or last minute changes to best check your weather app, our notice board or this blog. 

Hope to see you soon! 

From FoKNP committee members Lynn, Dinny, Chris, Liz, Claire, Lucy and Andy.

FoKNP contact

Lynn Horsnett
Chair of Friends of Kings Norton Park

Email:      info.foknp@gmail.com

Blog:        www.friendsofkingsnortonpark

Twitter:  @kingsnortonpark