October is our month for looking back over the last year, and for our AGM.
Everyone’s welcome to the AGM (18th October, 7pm at the Reading Cafe), so do come along and have your say about what’s going on in the park. This year we’re aiming to have a very brief formal element, where we review the year, confirm the financial situation and (re)elect the committee, followed by small group discussions on the key topics for the work of the Friends. Then we’ll get back together for conclusions and CAKE! Sounds like my kind of meeting …
We’re delighted to announce this year’s Artist in Residence is Nick Booth, a MA student studying Fine Art at York St John University. We met up to discuss his ideas on Saturday, and we were intrigued by his proposals. Partly inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, Nick wants to explore some of the historical aspects of Rowntree Park, from its foundation in the aftermath of World War I, through the inter-war years and onwards, encompassing some memorable elements such as the swimming pool, the aviaries, skating on the lake and the millennial renovations. Perhaps Friends and other local people have ideas for what “absolutely has to be included” in a portrayal of the park? Nick will be spending some time in the park itself, getting inspiration, and will also be warmly welcomed in the Reading Cafe, where his art will be displayed in an exhibition this summer. We’re looking forward to seeing what he produces.
It’ll be a summer of Art (amongst other things) in the park, as we are also working with Sculpture students from York St John University, who are proposing some temporary installations for the park for the weekend of July 7th/8th (to coincide with the Bloom Festival). A curator from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is helping with this project.
We had a lovely time at our October meet up for Very Young Friends playing with leaves. Sadly not enough leaves had fallen for us to make a giant leaf pile for jumping in but we still had fun looking for leaves and autumn colours on our leaf treasure hunt. We also really enjoyed making autumn crowns by weaving willow branches into a ring and tucking leaves and other lovely finds into them.
However, some of us – my very own very young friend especially – remembered that willow is good for lots of things and began making new adventures. Willow lends itself to outdoor play very well because its so flexible and there are usually lots of long lengths of it under the trees (called whips). You can twist it, wave it, tie it and anything else you can think of. These are some of our favourite things to play with willow:
- Hours have gone by while my little explorers have dipped long lengths of willow in and out of the lake attempting to catch fish. Unsurprisingly they’ve never caught one but it doesn’t seem to deter them!
- Scooter modifications. Take a piece of willow, tie it to a scooter and voila! A go-faster leaver. A teddy bear holder. Use it to tie sticks on for extra features, maybe breaks or booster buttons. And if you run out of power, a hanging willow branch makes for a excellent petrol pump.
- Weave more crowns like we did, or bracelets, or mini Christmas wreaths. Make a stick frame and weave a picture. Use other nature treasures to decorate them, maybe some coloured leaves or pine cones.
- Some of those willow whips are really long. If you find a nice flexible one (and you’re not very big!) you can use it as a skipping rope.
- Waving. The ultimate in entertainment if you’re a toddler. Grab a willow whip. Wave it about. Job done
Have a go next time you’re in the park. Remember to only take willow from the ground and keep the trees healthy.
Next month we’ll be thinking about hibernation and getting ready for winter. Come along to find out about the sleepy animals in the park and make some lovely hedgehogs to take home. Join us on 3rd November at 11.30 by the log circle in the woods.
Christine Potter and the Very Young Friends
Pssssst. If you like making things with willow look out for a special December event for all ages where you can make your own Christmas wreaths. Saturday 3rd Dec, 10-12. £5 per wreath.
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 (@), 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!
Autumn 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.