Volunteers needed to ‘Fight the Aliens’ Last year, in partnership with South Cumbria Rivers Trust, we brought together a fighting force of volunteers to work in groups around Rydal to attempt a mass-removal of Himalayan Balsam. And now we are calling on volunteers to help with a second round of balsam bashing on Saturday 11th July. Ruth Kirk, Landscape Engagement Officer said, “Last July over 70 volunteers did a fantastic job of clearing the Rydal area of this non-native invasive species. The difference is obvious in the areas that we hit hard last year. But Himalayan Balsam is a pesky and persistent blighter; it creeps back again so the bashing needs doing for a few more years to eradicate it. So ding-ding! It’s time for Round Two. “The majority of the work will involve pulling Balsam by hand and breaking the stem at the root. It’s not technical so anyone who’s physically mobile can do it. We will be putting in place all the necessary steps to ensure people’s safety in light of government guidelines surrounding Covid-19”. Himalayan Balsam is an invasive, non-native plant that reproduces rapidly and spreads quickly, smothering and pushing out our indigenous plants, particularly along riverbanks, lakeshores and the edges of streams. It was introduced to the UK in 1839 and quickly escaped into the wild. Our native species simply can’t compete.It’s a huge problem and there’s no easy way to tackle it. Elbow grease and the energy and enthusiasm of willing volunteers are the most effective tools in fighting this alien invader. The ‘Fight the Aliens – Big Balsam Bash 2020’ offers the chance for people to get to grips (literally) with this increasingly pervasive weed. You can help tackle the problem by simply giving a few hours of your time and effort to this satisfying task on the morning of Saturday 11th July. So come along and put some of that pent up energy to a good cause. Anyone wanting to get involved can sign up at: https://www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/Event/fight-the-aliens-big-balsam-bash-2020 or contact [email protected].org.uk 01539 720788. Booking is essential. The event is also supported by the National Trust, Lake District National Park, Lowther Estates, Rydal Estate, C&S Hodgson (Rydal Hall Farm) and Rydal Hall.