At last it’s arrived, the day we’ve been looking forward to for over a month. The Woodland Trust people arrived and it was down to work. We now know about crowns and stems, clinometers and ranging poles. We also have the equipment for the Javelin event in our next Improvised Olympics. (I know everyone else was thinking the same, but we all decided not to mention it until the Woodland Trust people left).
We’re now qualified to measure heights and girths and crowns (both north to south and east to west) and I have a pen mark on my shirt to tell me where the 1.3 metre mark is for measuring girths. As long as I don’t wash the shirt I’m pretty well set up for that.
I still think that it will be easier to measure small trees by making Tim climb them with a tape measure instead of using a clinometer and percentages. Despite this, it’s a lot easier doing it with a clinometer than the way I was taught at school. I can’t remember exactly how we did it but it involved sticks and plywood triangles and much more maths. It also involved a lot more answers because it’s a mathematical rule that the more steps you have in a process involving ten-year-olds the more answers you get. We were all pretty good, and the answers hardly varied at all, a triumph for the instructors considering the mixed abilities of the group. In fact the only person who got the girth wrong was me, but after standing straighter and trying again I got it right. It’s likely that drawing an ink mark on the front of my shirt isn’t the best way of finding the height for a girth measurement.
It hasn’t suited everyone as an activity, and the temperature hasn’t helped, particularly the icy north wind that’s been getting up since mid-morning, but several of the group have definitely enjoyed it and that’s what it’s about.
You never know where these things will lead. For an example look no further than lambing. Three years ago most of the group didn’t care for farm animals and were only interested in things like rabbits and guineapigs. Now they are volunteering to come in at the weekend and help with lambing. It’s strange how one thing leads to another, and when you look back over the years it’s amazing how some people change.
Apart from me that is. In 1966 I seem to remember being in trouble for throwing the sticks and for getting some pretty outlandish answers. In 2015 I can only grin and point out that we all have to grow older, but we don’t have to grow up!