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Look after yourself


Edinburgh Natural History Society has been affiliated to the North Western Naturalists' Union NWNU for a good number of years. This affiliation allows us to take advantage of an insurance policy that is appropriate for the kind of activities we undertake.

Please read the NWNU Safety Code and a couple of short entries from the most recent newsletter for interest.

NORTH WESTERN NATURALISTS' UNION SAFETY CODE The NWNU holds third party public liability insurance, which covers members and visitors attending official meetings of the NWNU and/or meetings of those Affiliated Societies which subscribe to the insurance scheme. The purpose of this code is to assist everyone in ensuring their own safety as well as that of others during meetings. In addition, leaders will draw the attention of members to known hazards of a site, and to this safety code.

Participation in meetings - 1. Ensure that you are adequately clothed and equipped. 2. Never leave the main party without telling the leader of your plans. 3. Be alert to the hazards of the site and their potential danger, both to yourself and to others. For example, take care not to dislodge loose stones or boulders. 4. Do not rock-climb without experience and proper equipment. 5. Do not damage walls, fences, hedges, gates, etc.. 6. Leave gates open/shut as the party finds them. 7. Take care not to start a fire. 8. Familiarize yourself with the procedure to follow in the event of an accident in the field.

Clothing and equipment - Always carry wind- and water-proof outer clothing, and wear suitable footwear, e.g. walking boots or, in certain circumstances, wellingtons. All clothing should be suitable for the terrain and the worst potential weather. Carry sufficient food and drink for the excursion, with some extra in case of emergency. A first aid kit is also recommended. In exposed and/or high altitude areas, the following are necessary. 1. Spare layers in the form of warm sweaters. 2. Properly fitting walking or climbing boots with stout soles and with good grip, worn over comfortable, warm socks. Footwear should be waterproof, but wellingtons should not be worn in rocky terrain. 3. A small rucksack to carry spare clothing, including waterproofs. 4. A whistle, compass, maps, torch, first-aid kit. A hand-held GPS (global positioning system receiver) can be helpful, but is not a complete substitute for a compass in many types of terrain. 5. A survival bag or emergency blanket.

Procedure in the event of an accident in the field - First aid must be rendered at once, and medical and relief help should be sought if necessary. Prevention of exposure is almost always possible, through adequate clothing, equipment and procedure, but if a case is suspected, the initial treatment is additional warm clothing and a wind-proof and water-proof outer garment, plus ingestion of a source of rapidly absorbed food, such as sugar or glucose in solid or liquid form, but preferably hot liquid.

Ticks and Lyme Disease - Please be aware that ticks may be vectors for Lyme disease. Help and information is available from the National Health Service Websites.

International distress code in mountains - SIX long light-flashes/blasts/shouts/waves in succession, repeated at one minute intervals

Edinburgh Excursions - After reading the article in the last issue of the Northwestern Naturalist (21.1) about Nantwich Natural History Society written by Bob Anderson, Sarah Adamson of the Edinburgh Natural History Society felt inspired enough to get in contact and make an offer to our membership: The members of Edinburgh Natural History Society would be delighted to see members of The North Western Naturalists' Union at any of their indoor or outdoor events which can be found on our website www.edinburghnaturalhistorysociety.org.uk

A Note About Tree-Planting - May I request to everybody who plants trees and who recommends others to plant trees is to please check WHERE they are planting them. Think about how large they will be in ten years time and CHECK if they will be shading out valuable meadow with flowers. LOOK which way the sun moves round and make sure any shading will be where it least shades out flowering plants. Our insects - especially butterflies - need flowering plants in the sunshine so that they can move around and gather nectar. We know we have lost an immense number of trees in this country… BUT we have also lost - if not more - a great many meadows and flowering plants and remember that even weeds have flowers that insects use. I feel distressed to see that people are plonking small trees right in the middle of an open field without a thought to how much shade this will cast in the summer ten or twenty or fifty years hence. Think would it be better planted at the edge of the open space? And which edge… well…. the edge where it will not shade the meadow/grassland would be best. If you can plant a tree… then you can easily plant a wildflower too. Remember also, that there are some of our butterflies whose life-cycle is totally dependent upon grasses, our native grasses, not 'amenity grassland'. They lay their eggs in it, their caterpillars live in it, and only as grown butterflies do they use flowers (in sunshine) to nectar upon. Sonia Allen, Rochdale Field Naturalists

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