CD#4 – Reinvigorating and rejuvenating for the reopening

On Saturday 4th March the Castle reopens to the public – considerably earlier than in previous years. In celebration of this event we thought you might like to learn a little about what has been going on in the Gardens and Grounds over the Winter months while the rest of us have been desperately trying to keep out of the wind and rain (and avoiding the chaos caused by Doris), although Gardener Supervisor Jackie does assure us that we had a mild, dry Fall – too long ago to remember!

Gardens and Grounds Team February 2017
The Gardens and Grounds Team proving that for at least one day we had sunshine!!

You may have noticed that, despite this latest spell of rain, things in the borders have definitely shifted into Spring mode, with many of the herbaceous perennials already daring to show their green. This bravery is in part spurred on by the two truck-loads (18 tonnes) of compost that Jackie and her team have spread over the borders during the Winter.

Jackie, Tom, Fiona and George have also between them planted 3,000 bulbs, which should put on a fantastic display of colour soon. You probably will have also seen the Gardening team hard at work scarifying, pruning, dividing and generally renovating all round. This will have a huge visual impact as the plants are rejuvenated and reinvigorated, plus will provide sale items for the plant stall. No garden has been left untouched, with the Azalea, Elizabethan, Shakespeare, Butterfly and Folly gardens all undergoing some form of renovation. The Herb garden is next on the team’s hit list.

Gardens and Grounds Daffodils and Castle February 2017
Early signs that Spring has sprung

In the Grounds, Guy, Adam and Kallum have been keeping warm by renewing the chestnut fencing, using in part chestnut coppiced from the estate. Over the coming year they will be tackling the invasive and potentially disease-spreading Rhododendron ponticum, eradicating it from the estate. So much of the clearing work that the team has undertaken has opened up new vistas not seen for many years. For our younger visitors (and maybe the not so young too!) the Estate team will be devising a tree trail and an ‘I spy’ trail. We are sure they would welcome all who wish to trial the trails!

So, if you enjoy fresh air, tranquillity and a chance to escape your office once in a while, the fantastic gardens and grounds are there for you. And if you enjoy them, do spread the word – encourage your family and friends to visit too!   As a member of staff or faculty you can bring up to four family members or friends into the gardens free of charge. You will also be able to take advantage of our complimentary tickets for friends and family, which means they can enjoy the Gardens and Grounds even when you are unable to be with them.  And all we ask in return, is that you take with you on your travels a handful of our leaflets and leave them wherever they are likely to encourage others to visit the Castle!

Do you have a question, comment or suggestion for an article to feature in the next Castle Drum? Email: castledrum@bisc.queensu.ac.uk 

»Storming ahead with a Spring in our step«

CD#3 – Let’s get technical!

In this issue we embrace our techy sides.

We can all improve our IT skills! The majority of us are self-taught, and while that’s absolutely fine, it often means that we’re not realising the full potential of all the fantastic software we have available to us.

Queen’s has recognised this and is piloting a three-year project that will allow staff and faculty to access literally thousands of step-by-step tutorial videos on hundreds of topics.

Introducing 

Lynda is a training website for anyone looking to improve their knowledge of common software packages, learn a new skill (for business, or just to be a little more creative) and stay informed of the latest technological changes. The site is usually only available through a subscription fee, but can be accessed 100% free of charge by anyone with a Queen’s Net ID.

If you do not currently have a Net ID and would like one, don’t panic! Please contact BiscIT@bisc.queensu.ac.uk and they will be more than happy to get you started. A Net ID is merely a username and a password, similar to your email account, and all staff and faculty are entitled to one.

The BiscIT logo. Biscuit? Cookies must be enabled.

Once you are logged in, Lynda will save the videos you have watched, suggest playlists based on the topics that interest you, and even allow you to create your own playlists so that you can design your own learning path. You can learn at your own pace, at work, at home, or even on the bus via Lynda’s mobile apps.

The left-hand column of this screengrab gives an idea of some of the areas of interest covered by Lynda:

Faculty members might be interested to note that there are a range of teaching tools and entire playlists dedicated to professional development for educators. Whatever your role at the Castle however, we recommend you click here for a comprehensive list of every subject covered.

Learn to be a better photographer, how to animate your drawings, or just how to get started with Microsoft Office. The Castle Drum simply cannot recommend this resource highly enough… and did we mention, it’s completely free? If you have a Net ID, click here to get started.

Do you have a question, comment or suggestion for an article to feature in the next Castle Drum? Email: castledrum@bisc.queensu.ac.uk 

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