The Annual Balsam Bash on RAMS Island

28 Jun 2017

The third annual expedition of #TeamBIA to Ram’s Island started, as most good days do,with a nice strong cup of tea!


To set the scene for the day, RAMS Island Warden, Michael Savage, filled the team in on the dangers of the invasive Himalayan Balsam. 

This particular species of Balsam plagues the island and prevents the growth and blossom of the natural habitat. The seed pods burst, spreading up to 20 feet away and remaining active in the soil for up to 4 years before they begin to grow, meaning they must be cleared regularly to keep them under control.

The job of #TeamBIA was to participate in a ‘Balsam Bash’ – uprooting the plants before they mature and drop their seeds, in an attempt to curb the further spread of the nuisance plant across the island.

A hard day’s work followed (spurred on by a delicious lunch provided by Michael and his colleagues!) and the team managed to cover a significant portion of the island, uprooting plenty of Balsam as they went along.

Commenting on the work, Belfast International Airport’s Mark Gaul, said, “The team really enjoyed our third excursion to Ram’s Island for the Balsam Bash. Michael and his team were very welcoming and the friendly atmosphere, together with the satisfaction of helping our local community, made it a great day. It looks like it has become an annual airport event now!”

The Rams Island Heritage Project (an undertaking of the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association Company) is committed to helping protect and conserve the wildlife and heritage of Rams Island on Lough Neagh. You can find out more by clicking here.

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