The staff were in Northern Ireland this week attending the CIRB conference on Invasive Species and their control. ART are a  partner in the CIRB project and it is this project that has allowed us to control so many areas affected by Non Native Invasive Weeds since 2010.

In 2012, we were lucky to have an Intern from Catalonia; Alba Bonas Piella. Alba undertook some fantastic work for the Trust independent of the project. She was invited to fly back to the UK as a guest speaker where she presented her research results. Although ART delivered this research on a shoestring last year, we have managed to lead the way on this vital component of the project. Alba concluded by highlighting the many questions that still need answers and we hope to be able to continue this work in the months ahead should funding be made available.

Alba delivering her research results

Later in the program ART also delivered a workshop focussing on stem injection techniques and advances in control methods and technologies. Over two days, most of the delegates attended the workshop and heard a range of tips and methods available to improve performance.

Stuart Brabbs demonstrating the range of equipment available for control of invasive weeds. This was the first of two workshops delivered by ART over the two day conference.

The first day conclude with questions and answers for the speakers finishing sometime around 9pm. Following a long and intense day, we all relaxed with a few drinks in the bar and then later in the accommodation block. Some more than others! I think the stragglers headed to bed around 3am.

Settling down for the late session.

Gordon beginning to feel the strain after a very long day. ( picked him up at 5am )

The second day kicked off a bit early at 9am but once again we had a full program ahead of us. Several talks and presentations later we finally closed the conference feeling that we had all learned much from our partners experiences. Sharing good practice is essential and of great benefit to us and in turn our volunteers. We will produce a brief report on the conference in due course and this may be interesting to all those tackling INNS in Ayrshire.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge all Catherine McGavigan and her staff’s hard work and excellent organisation that made the conference such a success.  It was good to meet Emily for the first time and to catch up with Christie once again but I doubt if he will remember much! The Clandeboye Estate is a lovely venue and anyone looking for a venue for a wedding would be hard pushed to find a nicer place.