Birthday Party, July 12th

This year’s Birthday Party (aka Summer Fair) is on July 12th, from 1-4pm. All are welcome to come and browse the stalls, enjoy the entertainments, take part in the activities, listen to the music and eat delicious street food! Follow the event on Facebook to keep up to date with the developments.

The Friends are looking volunteers to help on the day. Can you help for an hour, or more, with setting up, marshalling or tidying up? Lots of lovely local people needed to make this event safe and fun. Get in touch via this page, the Facebook page or info@

The issue of geese in the park

The Canada geese have had another very successful breeding season and there are dozens of geese families in the park. The geese parents are highly-protective of the baby goslings, and often hiss or peck at anyone who comes too close. This is one of the many reasons that we stress that there are issues in feeding the wild birds in the park. Another important issue is the sheer quantity of droppings, which make the paths and grass unpleasant; ‘goose poo’ in the park is the major source of complaints about the park.

Canada geese were introduced into the country and have no natural predators. Rowntree Park is just one of hundreds of parks and open spaces in the UK that have a problem with too many Canada geese. Like hundreds of other Friends’ groups, the Friends of Rowntree Park discuss the issue of the geese on a regular basis, often collaborating with the Council. In 2005, the Friends and Council worked together to commission and fund a report on the Canada geese.

Careful reading of the report shows that there have been many studies, all seeking to find a way to control geese, or to prevent them from having such an annoying impact on the amenity value of parks and open spaces. It is clear that there is no one simple, cheap and universally-acceptable solution to the problem. Specifically, the Friends are often asked “why can’t the geese just be moved or culled?'”, but the cleared area would swiftly be filled up with geese from elsewhere in the York region. There are a number of possible ways in which some specific areas of the park could be made less attractive to the geese, and these may be something to concentrate on, if practical (and if funds are available).

The Friends are once more revisiting the subject, at the Friends meeting on Thursday 18th June. A member of Council staff will be present. All are welcome to take part in these discussions but we would ask that you read the report before attending, so that we don’t have to spend valuable discussion time, retracing our steps over existing information.

Could 2015 be the year that you help us make the Park even more wonderful?

Step up! Make it happen!

The Friends of Rowntree Park aim to:

  • promote the well-being of the Park and its users
  • support increased and diverse uses of the park, by all sections of the community
  • represent the views of the park’s users.

A very small group of volunteers work together to support these aims. They also work to enable the Friends to exist as an organisation, by publishing and circulating newsletters, this blog, the Facebook site, the Twitter account (@Fr_RowntreePark), keeping the membership informed of developments, doing the admin for the group (collecting subs and maintaining membership details) etc.

There is plenty of scope for more activities under the Friends’ banner – whether it be related to conservation, creative/arts, sports, young people or something else completely new – but we need more active Friends to take on co-ordinating and promoting such activities. If you have ideas about more ‘stuff’ happening in Rowntree Park, and can take on an active role to make it happen, get in touch with the Friends!

Words from a Bench Winter 2014-15

This is a ‘guest’ blog post, from Karen Green, the editor for our writing project. Karen says:

“Submissions for Words from a bench for the winter competition were on the theme of ‘Crossed paths’. The best seven entries are available to read here.

Although we typically encourage pieces about the out of doors and nature, for this round we deliberately left the subject ambiguous and received submissions which interpreted the theme literally and metaphorically. As a consequence, the chosen entries have a range in tone and content which is wider (and in some cases darker) than you would normally find on the site.We hope you appreciate the change for winter and welcome any feedback.”

We wondered whether the winter makes writers think about more sombre themes, or whether the darkness of these pieces reflects the current popularity of written pieces about ghosts, zombies, vampires and the dark side of human experiences….


Young wordsmiths sought!

Would you like to see your story on a bench in Rowntree Park? Writers in the park is holding a competition.

Now the writing project is open to under-18s too! If you are interested, please see the instructions for more information.felix's owl

Opening up Words from a Bench

Jane McWeeny 2009


Our Words from a Bench project has been very successful, with four editions over the first year, with contributions from a total of 19 writers from one York-based writers group in the UK and a partner group of writers in Iceland. Now we’d like to open up the project to all writers, from anywhere in the world, although the theme ‘Crossed Paths’ is still concerned with the experience of parks and open spaces. Your piece must be less than 1000 words. Ten pieces will be chosen for publication on the website, and we hope to be able to present these as audio as well. These same ten pieces will be found dotted about on the park benches of Rowntree Park and Hljómskálagarður Park in Reykjavik. Karen Green, the editor for the project, has prepared guidelines for contributors. The deadline for contributions is the 15th November 2014. Good luck!

Your thoughts for the AGM

dancing red leaves 3Autumn is the time of AGMs, and the Friends of Rowntree Park have theirs this evening. We are a community group that works to benefit the park and its users, so we’re always looking for new ideas of how we could do this. If you are a visitor to Rowntree Park, do you have any ideas for projects or activities that would benefit the park and its users?

We appealed for ideas on our Facebook page, and by our email list, and received these ideas:

  • 5k or 10k race
  • Something that links Rowntree Park with the other parks in York
  • outdoor gym equipment like this or this
  • play equipment for the over 8s
  • art projects for adults
  • all-day brass band festival
  • do something about the geese

We’d be glad to hear about your thoughts on these, or your other ideas, so why not come to the AGM (7pm at the Reading Cafe, for details see October newsletter), or post your comments here.




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