November 2014

You are warmly invited to our AGM on Mon, 17th Nov, 7pm at Comrades Club

We'll discuss ideas for next year's activities and events, and look back over this year. Please bring a plate of food to share.

This meeting on 17th November will be our third AGM. In the first year we met and heard speakers on a range of topics from recycling to credit unions and fuel buying groups. In the second year we concentrated on greening our homes with talks and visits to properties with wood-fuelled boilers, solar panels and air-source heat pumps. We also discussed electric cars and the possibilities for improving insulation of solid walls. Over the last year our focus has been on the plight of bees, and other insect pollinators, and the importance of sympathetic management of road verges. We are developing links and work in partnership with a range of local groups - we aim to introduce sustainability into every agenda! We're also building a regular calendar of events, like last month's Reel Green Pop-up Cinema, which bring people together and promote sustainable initiatives. And there's our monthly (free!) newsletter, a round-up of events and initiatives in our area which contribute to a more sustainable future, along with comment on wider issues. Here's a list of our activities in the last year:

  • Screening of 'Queen of the Sun: What the bees are telling us' with South Tynedale Wildlife Group
  • Green Christmas Fair with Hadrian's Wall Farmers' Market (annual)
  • Renewable energy walk with Haltwhistle's Spring Walking Festival
  • Pollinators & Verges - awareness raising stall at Haltwhistle's Spring Plant Festival with Craftwrite Environmental Arts. (Annual)
  • Wool on the Wall - celebrating the local wool harvest with Fibre Fridays of Gilsland and Hadrian's Wall Farmers' Market. (Biennial)
  • Three evening verge walks looking at wild flowers on the roadside and the importance of verges as a habitat and resource for insect pollinators.
  • Practical help with and plants for a 'bee-friendly' garden at Haltwhistle Middle School
  • Perpetual trophy for most points in the veg classes at Gilsland Show and sponsorship of a class for a handmade over-wintering home for pollinators.

All welcome - we particularly welcome new faces!

Reel Green Pop-Up Cinema

The highlights of the day were definitely the two specially commissioned HFP made films; the First School's animation of bird flight and FilmAble's documentary celebrating 20 years of the horticultural project in the grounds of Ridley Hall. These were well attended and particularly enjoyed by members of the audience who were able to spot themselves on the big screen!

The Transition 2.0 film was heartening and inspiring in documenting the struggles as well as the triumphs of community projects around the world - it was great that we were joined by members of other Transition initiatives, from Northumberland and Scotland, for the screening of this film.

'Schooling the World' and 'A River Changes Course' included beautiful footage of Asian cultures but the audience was left a bit dispirited by the inevitability of globalization and consumer society that underpins capitalism. It is hard to see how the uniqueness of these cultures and cohesion of communities can survive in a world system where 'western' and 'developed' ideologies are taught (aka indoctrinated) to all children everywhere. These films lacked the humor and messages of hope that buoyed-up the audience at last years Pop-Up Cinema.

We also saw HFP's short film, commissioned by the RSPB, on Hen Harriers highlighting the conflicting interests of those managing moorland for grouse shooting - very important to the rural economy - and hen harriers. Possible solutions to this conflict are being explored at Langholm Moor and there is good news this year. The Hen harriers there have had an incredible breeding season with ten successful nests fledging 47 young, more than in the previous six breeding seasons combined. A recent edition of Radio 4's Shared Planet series focused on the Hen Harriers at Langholm in exploring conflicts, and solutions, between people promoting species conservation and those who perceived that their livelihoods would be threatened by conservation measures.

You can find out more about Reel Green's great local food suppliers

The success of the day was due in no small part to Vicki and Marc of Haltwhistle Film Project who sourced all the films and managed the projection on the day so smoothly.
Huge thanks also to Carol and Walter, of The Comrades Club, for use of all the Club's facilities completely free of charge. And to Haltwhistle Guides for excellent service in the Garibaldi Café.
Thanks also to the Northumberland National Park, The Smith (Haltwhistle and District) Charitable Trust, and Queens Hall Art Centre for sponsoring the event.

14th December Farmers' Market & Green Christmas Fair

Farmers' Market: 10am-2pm Greenhead Village Hall. This friendly market is on the second Sunday of every month. In December they'll be all the regular stalls plus extra seasonal treats. Great quality food from local farmers and artisan producers is guaranteed.

Green Christmas Fair 10am to 3pm in the Function Room of the Greenhead Hotel. Natural, recycled and handmade - Christmas gifts that don't cost the earth.

Food producers wanting a stall contact Wendy Bond 016977 47448
Craftspeople wanting a stall contact Sue Seymour 016977 47359

Wovember is an online campaign every November (geddit?) emphasising the connection between the yarn and the animals that grow it. Wovember rails against the appropriation of the terms 'woolly' and 'fleece' by fabrics made entirely from synthetic fibres. Sally Antil, a local wool champion, will be writing for the Wovember blog this year. Sally's group Fibre Fridays meets on the second Friday of every month in Gilsland Village Hall.

Planting for Spring colour and pollen for hungry bees.

  • Grape hyacinths (muscari) are popular with the solitary hair footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes), which looks like a bumblebee but zips about more like a hoverfly.
  • Crocus (strictly a corm, not a bulb) is also loved by bees, large swathes of crocus come alive with the sound of urgent buzzing on sunny spring days. The flowers close at night, only fully opening in sunshine, so bumblebee queens may spend the night in these floral cocoons, before breakfasting on nectar in the morning sun.
  • Another bee favourite is Fritillaria Meleagris (snakeshead) which grows in shady damp spots and has charming bell-shaped flowers with intricate chequer-board markings.
  • If you don't like spring bulbs, grow early flowering helleborus, native primroses and lungwort (pulmonaria) instead. Better still, grow them in conjunction with bulbs, and in spring, take time to watch the first, hungry bees come to your garden.

South Tyne Sustainability aims to reduce the impact of the community of Haltwhistle and surrounding villages on our environment. This will help individuals, families and our community save money and resources and ensure a more sustainable future for us all.

To join STS contact Sue Seymour, 016977 47359