Four people and a springer spaniel called Buddy came to last Sunday’s ragwort pulling work party. This was really discouraging.
When we had to spray the ragwort in the park with herbicide in the spring, that news was shared out on Facebook to thousands and thousands of people, all of whom seemed to object. We got messages worrying about the park’s insect life and decrying the use of herbicides at a time when Europe’s population of invertebrates seems to be falling dangerously. We got messages accusing us of irresponsibility; a message from somebody in Florida, begging us to think of the butterflies; a message from a strangely pro-ragwort organisation in Holland who said we were over-reacting.
To all of these people we replied that the park’s farm tenancy and the Weed Act had us trapped; we had to clear the ragwort. You could prevent the use of herbicides in the future, we said, if you join us in regular, annual, ragwort-pulling by hand. You all said of course you would come; we made lists.
Hundreds of people use the park every week; you come for exercise, enjoyment, the fun of being outside on a fine day. It’s free; we even fought a battle with the county so that you could go on parking for free. Surely there comes a time when you have to give something back.
Any ideas? How can we encourage more people to join us in this annual battle with ragwort.
More work parties: