Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre March 2017 - Newletter

Book into the Centre
Spring has sprung at LGFC. It's been great to get some sunshine in the valley. The start of spring heralds the beginning of a very busy time here. There really isn't much space available in the Centre over the coming months, so if you want to book please take a good look at our bookings calendar. Remember we do have Members Dates over the spring and summer, Easter Weekend (14th April-17th April), June 2nd -4th, and don't forget to put a note in your diary for Working Week (21st August - 26th) which leads directly into our members and mates week which finishes on Sunday 3rd September. What better way to round off the Summer holidays for the kids than some time running about at Gillerthwaite? Please remember to book in with Ellen, you can give her a call on 01946 8612229 or email or click on the book into the Centre boxes on this newsletter.
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Drainage Work
We have carried out some work on the drainage at the LGFC. This was partially funded by a grant from Copeland County Council and partially by LGFC. We have put a drainage channel in the back of the property to prevent pooling water. All the gutters on the Centre have all been replaced with wider, deeper guttering. There is still a small amount of work to be carried out but we are hoping that the Royal Engineers maybe up for finishing off the work. So far this year we haven't flooded !
Wolfson Room & Halpin Trust
We have now just about finished the refit of the Wolfson room using the money received from the Halpin Trust. We have a fully equiped classroom which has already been used by a couple of visiting groups . We have replaced the sink unit and have running hot water. New tables, chairs and lockable cupboards make a great update. The study equipment has all been updated including new pond dipping nets and microscope. We have a new digital projector and laptop. LGFC would also like to thank Brian and Jennifer Burscough for taking the time to come and reorganise and set up the Wolfson room
Forestry Commission Lease
As members know our 49 year lease with the Forestry Commission expires at the end of April 2017. Negotiations are proceeding well through the lease sub-committee of Chris Pearce, Roger Wensley and Brian Burscough. Dealing with the FC is a lengthy process and it is unlikely that the new lease will be finalised by the expiry date. However this will not have any effect on the day to day operation of the Centre.

New Roles 

Victoria Pearce is now the Dark Sky Coordinator 

Ellen Cloete is now the Educational Hub Coordinator 
Dark Sky – February 25th
LGFC hosted another very successful Dark Sky evening on February 25th. The event started off in the afternoon with a very interesting walk lead by LGFC member Alan Brown (also from STFC) along the valley to look at the remains of a Neolithic settlement near Gilflinter Beck. Alan is studying for his Master’s degree in Archaeology and hopes in the future to lead a dig in this area.
We once again borrowed the Starlab from STFC and many thanks go to Wendy and Gemma who brought all the equipment along and worked with LGFC members to show them how to set it up so that we can run the Starlab presentations independently in future. Gemma and Wendy had to give their talk on ‘Constellations’ three times to accommodate all the visitors.
Later in the evening we also had talks from Alan Brown on The Power of Light and the use of Emission Spectroscopy in Astronomy. Alan gave a very enjoyable talk involving the audience in some of his demonstrations. This was followed by an absorbing talk by Roger Vine, a local astronomer, who spoke about Mount Wilson’s 60” reflector. This is a famous telescope with which many important discoveries were made in the 1930s. Roger had exclusive use of the telescope for 1 night last year. Finally we had a very helpful talk for budding astronomers on Photographing Stars given by Jeremy Hunt of the Cockermouth Astronomical Society.
Unfortunately the weather was at its usual LGFC standard of rain and cloud so no observing was done at all until midnight when the Plough briefly appeared.
Many thanks to all from LGFC who helped with the organisation of the event but especially to Vic Pearce who acted as event coordinator and has offered to take on this role for the next Dark Sky event. Also thanks to Paddy and Rachael Muir for providing hot soup and parkin to the would-be astronomers. Plus thanks to Tim Plaice who acted as stand-in warden as Ellen and Walter were away for the weekend supporting Charlie in a Lego Programming competition he had entered – we hope he did well.
The next Dark Sky event will be held at the end of the Educational Hub week on October 21st. This should be a good weekend for star-gazing at LGFC as it coincides with the Orionids meteor shower, so if we have clear skies then there is a good chance of seeing meteors.

Written by John Irwin 

We have replaced the fridge and freezer in the Centre with much larger industrial versions. The old fridge and freezer are still on site and can be used if we require extra storage. The new fridge and freezer are much easier to clean after use.
Educational Hub Event October 2017

We will be running an Educational Hub event in October in conjunction with the National Rivers Trust. We will be welcoming 4 schools to the Centre during the week. Each school will arrive in the morning and spend the first part of the day with Rebecca Neal (Rivers Trust Education and Outreach Officer), This will involve a classroom session in the morning and include simple experiments on soil compaction and diffuse pollution, plus instructions on how to use a key. The afternoon outdoor sessions, where students rotate around 3 different activities, will be along lines of River Dip, River Survey, and Treasure Hunt.
The kids will then get an evening meal. Our Educational Hub volunteers will provide the evening activities which are likely to include fun activities.  'Try to find planets in other solar systems - and maybe even planets which might be habitable'. The Starlab (an inflatable planetarium with the latest projection technology) followed by a talk, and  finally Stargazing - telescopes provided. The children will be given hot chocolate and a snack and then go to bed. In the morning a cold breakfast will be provided after which they will leave to go back to school, before another group  arrives.

Ellen is currently in the process of applying for grants to cover the cost of the transport and food. We already have 2 local schools booked in and are looking forward to getting the other places filled.
Members Dates 
2017 Dates 
14-17 April  Members’ weekend (Easter)
2-4 June Members’ weekend + CM 
21 Aug – 3 Sep Working week + Members and Mates weekCM 
16th—20th  Oct Educ. Hub + DARK SKY sat 21st Oct
3rd –5th Nov AGM + CM
2018 Dates 
 23rd Feb - 25th Feb Members Weekend  + CM
March 16th - March 18th DARK SKY WEEKEND 
29th March -2nd April Easter  (inc. the Thursday so people don't have to travel on a BH)
25th May - 28th May Members Weekend+ CM 
20th July -  22nd July Members Weekend
17th Aug - 31st Aug Working Week & Members and Mates
22nd Sept CM away from LGFC
Oct 1st - Oct 5th Educ. Hub + DARK SKY  Sat Oct 6th 
2nd- 4th Nov AGM + CM 
(Please make sure you book your bed with Ellen)
The book 'Gillerthwaite- A Brief History' researched and compiled by Mike Rollison can be bought by clicking on this box. Please fill in the details required and forward a payment of £11.75.
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