Over the last few months fairandfunky have been working with River Holme Connections on their ‘Beat The Balsam’ project; to try to tackle the alien invasive plant species that threaten to take over our riversides. All fairandfunky workshops encourage participants to look at the world around them and empower people of all ages with the knowledge that their actions can have a positive impact on the world around them; both locally and globally.
Students from Hinchliffe Mill Junior School braved the weather for a very wet walk along the River Holme to spot patches of balsam and to ‘beat it’ where safe to do so! From the bridge we could see what happens when the balsam is left to take over – very little else is able to grow, limiting biodiversity and leaving the river bank prone to erosion.
At Honley Junior School and Newsome Community Funday each child made their own identification card so they would easily recognise the plant when out and about! And they each created their own paper pot and planted wildflower seeds (donated by Seedball) to improve local biodiversity for pollinators.
Other sessions were held at Hillside Primary and Honley High Schools.
The River Holme supports a vast array of wildlife from dippers and herons, to trout, mayflies and a wonderful array of wildflowers. Himalayan Balsam presents a threat to this rich biodiversity which is where local action comes in. ‘Beat The Balsam’ gives each and every one of us the permission to pick, and beat, the balsam. Remove it from our local ecosystems and make way for native flora.
With a shallow root system it is easy to pull, and as it rots away quickly you can leave it where you found it! It’s really important to only pick Balsam – if in doubt, leave it!
It’s not too late to get involved! Take a look at the activities going on across the Holme Valley throughout the Summer and ‘Beat The Balsam’!