My Random Acts for Nature in June 2015

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

The Wildlife Trusts have set the challenge to us all – can you engage with wildlife every day in the month of June? Below is the response from a BBOWT volunteer, Martin Woolner.

1 June

We are in Scotland – a week of family holiday, seven humans and one dog. Gill and I peeled off from the others and spent the day wandering about near the superbly remote Rannoch railway station. A long slow walk full of wildlife encounters, some wonderfully unexpected (which I greatly prefer). For example the pair of Tiger Beetles on a sandy bank mating furiously in the short burst of warm sunshine... and I do believe they were the Scottish variant of the species! Later a long, long look at a lone osprey circling repeatedly over a lochan seeking a fish among the wind-whipped waves on a day full of icy squalls and blasts of essentially Scottish sunshine. Then a chat with 4 ladies in the station waiting room about all sorts of wildlife.
The habitat was perfect for these beetles – a South facing sandy slope which becomes sun drenched once the Spring starts.

2 June

A quiet lesson about death for my 21/2 year-old grandson Elijh. Where we are staying has big windows overlooking a really wild forest garden. Whilst washing up the breakfast things and ignoring the dishwasher nearby (terrible things, they don’t allow you a chance to stand at a sink and look out) a resounding crack was heard. A song thrush had flown hard into the window, was now lying on the ground below. I advised against any intervention immediately to see if the bird might recover. Although it stood up later within an hour it had died. With carefully chosen words to the younger generation (my elder son works for RSPB) we gave it a burial beneath moss under a tree in the garden... and later advised the owners of the property to put those deterrent stickers on the windows.

3 June

It rained, so I sat indoors and painted this... 

4 June

A return visit for me to the iconic Ardnamurchan Point lighthouse and environs – last time 30 years ago in a blizzard, this time in glorious sunshine. We saw “the most Westerly in mainland” of all sorts of things including (for a veteran “basher”) a riotously flowering Rhododendron growing in the garden of our Lighthouse Tourguide. Went rockpooling at low tide at Sanna Bay, one of the best shell-sand beaches I know in Scotland. Must be several years since we’ve done rockpooling and it was wonderful: a large Bullhead, a colourful sea-slug (the less-biologist members of the family loved the word NUDIBRANCH!) and lots of tartan coloured seaweeds. Thousands of tadpoles and two golden Eagles on the way back through the sand dunes.

We caught this Bullhead and placed it in a sandy pool to photograph it. Immediately it would shuffle itself into the sand, so we had to be quick on the button.

5 June

Arrested on our drive to Oban by a sign to the SeaLife Centre which I thought had closed many years ago. A HUGELY impressive place. We all learnt a lot and burnt a lot of images in our minds. The touchy-feely pool was a highlight as the young Scottish lass explained all sorts of things in a very professional way to young children, to us oldies and to some Asian visitors – I didn’t know that a starfish can easily prise open a mussel with its 10,000 feet. Have you tried to do so? (with your hands, Stupid!) We never got to Oban.

6 June

A day of driving through torrential rain in Scotland, and eventually warmish sunshine back in the SE. The others, in cars behind us, saw an osprey lifting a HUGE salmon out of one of the lochs on Rannoch Moor just beside the main road. How they remained on the road among the busy traffic I just don’t know.

7 June

Back in Berkshire, in an ancient wood surrounded by posh new housing in Bracknell. Another task by us Windsor and Maidenhead Conservation Volunteers, this time removing tree guards from about 60 native trees planted by the developers of the adjacent estate. It was long overdue, and the wide margin of this woodland looks so much nicer without lots of poles supporting 5m high trees.

Spent the afternoon making two Stag Beetle Hotels from cut branches recently removed from trees deemed unsafe next to the very well made boardwalk through this very promising wood recently acquired by the Bracknell Forest Rangers. We like volunteering for them ‘cos they know what they are doing re conservation – unlike another Local Authority locally, who don’t!

7/8 June overnight

As part of the mini “bioblitz” run by BBOWT at Paices Wood as an “away day’ for their Berkshire staff and trainees I joined the fascinating group of Berkshire Mothers and installed my moth trap alongside theirs. Whilst they retreated to sleep in their cars I stayed up all night to sample the subtle delights of a wood at night. It was a calm night with the slightest of noises easily heard, the smallest of movements (sources unkown) seen. Moths kept dropping in until 02.00h when the temperature sunk below 6 degrees. To keep warm I went for a wander as dawn approached, which spooked the rooks above me. The resulting, perhaps artificially early, dawn chorus was a total delight – more birds here and no police sirens, aircraft and urban hum as in Maidenhead.
The best moth for me (among the team total of over 80 species) was the delightfully and appropriately named July Highflier.

8 June daytime

Helped in the multi-pronged bioblitz. With Liz in charge we swept and beat minibeasts out of grassland and bushes and peered at what we found. I hugely enjoy the enthusiasm of both the “Experts” and the eager “Learners” on these occasions and hope in my humble way as knowing something about spiders, and plant galls and other small critters to start turning some of the BBOWT trainees into the “David Attenborough”s of the future. We did find a super spider, one I had not seen before and one which even pleased the slightly arachnophobic members of our team. Gibbaranea gibbosa is well worth looking at closely... It is in the same group as the common Garden Cross Spider, but much rarer. Both the colour and the body shape are quite distinctive.

9 June

A Tuesday, so Gill and I join the team of volunteers at Burnham Beeches NNR just north of Slough. We meet a new volunteer John and he is introduced to some of our regular tasks. Pitfall traps are emptied and then set for their fortnightly sampling. All part of the long term studies on the effect of grazing the wood pasture (a system used for centuries in the past). Next week I will initiate John in the delights of sorting trap contents into piles of beetles, woodlice, millipedes, spiders etc identifying and counting the species. Much of wildlife management includes such detailed surveys.
Job 2 today involves removing 13 dust-trapping pads from poles scattered across the NNR. Mineral extraction is due to start soon at a site upwind and dust creation is limited by law, so us volunteers are monitoring the background levels now. The many rare and sensitive mosses and lichens on the internationally famous pollarded beech trees would suffer from dust laden air.
Simon, another volunteer returns from his butterfly transect having found a Bird’s-nest orchid. Wow! Must look out for that next Tuesday. It is the first one ever recorded at Burnham Beeches! This single plant stood in deep shade in the middle of the area in which much of the filming take place e.g. Harry Potter and Robin Hood films. A very much trampled area and yet for once in many years it was able to produce a tall flower spike.

11 June

Would normally go out with the BBOWT Midweek team of volunteers but chose instead to prepare for an event on Saturday. So I slowly walk around the Woolley Firs estate looking for any evidence of trees being eaten by caterpillars! My mate Les (we went to school together over 50 years ago) will be emptying his moth traps at Woolley on Saturday and sharing his encyclopaedic knowledge of moths with the audience. I rashly said I would add a topic (the trees at Woolley Firs and their moths) to the agenda. Very little evidence is seen in the morning so I shift across the A4 into Maidenhead Thicket – a bigger area with many more native trees in kind and number and begin to get useful material: leaves chewed in specific ways, leaf miner activity, the odd actual small creature which I know will not suffer being kept until Saturday. The recently published “Bible” on British micromoths is great for identifying many of these insects from the evidence of their activity, often right down to species level.

Holes in a hazel leaf made by the last stage larvae of the micromoth Ectoedemia subpurpurella – it uses the cut pieces to make a case in which it pupates.
Creeping through the woods always raises curiosity in others – they either walk briskly away or they come and ask. This time I get engaged with a local who complains about “what they (the National Trust) are doing to the Thicket”, namely cutting lots of trees down, letting some of the paths scrub up. So I try and point out that this is largely to benefit wildlife, and “biodiversity”. Although we have lost the nightingales which used to sing there 40 years ago there is still plenty of wildlife potential.

12 June

Roadkill “rescue”. I live on a very busy road twixt Maidenhead and Windsor and inevitably wildlife gets squashed by passing traffic or collides with 40mph windscreens. I have no car of my own these days (borrowing Gill’s by negotiation) and cycle almost daily along the shared pavement West and East. So I see roadkill close-up. I do nothing with the squashed Stag Beetles (the local area is good for them still, having lots of rotten elm stumps from the DED outbreak) but leave them for 6am foraging red kites. A dead young fox today I remove from the gutter and drag into the stretch of woodland adjacent hopefully to the benefit of Sexton and other burying beetles which I know live in the area.

My mate Trevor still occasionally phones me asking for bodies to bury. He once went all the way to Christmas Common to collect a large smelly deer to keep his garden beetles happy!

13 June

The Moths and Trees event today. Only SIX customers. The up side is that they got our full attention and that many small moths from the trap were seen intimately –always the best way I think. Perchance FOUR different types of Hawkmoth were also seen and, in the cold of the midmorning, they did not zap off when gently handled. Those people absent missed a riveting talk from Les, and also a “not bad” one from myself with lots of real live wildlife to see.

Hawkmoths like this Poplar Hawk tend to steal the limelight at these events, but there are many more smaller yet intriguing species to demonstrate.

Les Finch (foreground) is a Grammar school classmate of mine (60 years ago) and now an amazing moth guru.
It would be interesting to find out how other school pals, and not just the A Level biologists, have fared over the past decades. One wanted to become a sewage farm manager (after a school trip to Leatherhead), another a sea-food farmer.

Spent the afternoon at the “Art on the Street” event in Maidenhead in which I have participated with my paintings, and am now inspired to do a few wildlife ones in this special month of June (only a few days left!).

14 June

As you might have guessed I photograph a lot of wildlife. One such photo take in Scotland on 2nd of June I have today freely interpreted as a painting thus:

We visited a fantastic arboretum near Dumfries and under the huge trees saw a riot of ferns of many sorts, with new fronds thrusting through a thick thatch of older material.

A related image from a previous trip exhibits the camouflage of an adder:

17 June

Get the train to Farnham, Surrey and prepare for the guided walk I have been asked to lead at 5pm. Did one 3 years ago and “they want me back”. So in steamy heat I sort out a route with hopefully interesting content, write myself “aides memoires” and collect a few specimens to pass around the customers in case we run dry this evening. It is a large park with contrasting areas: formally planted parkland, traces of former deer park and wood pasture, and scattered “abandoned” woodland of various types. Surprises, which I hope will also surprise the punters include
1) a splendid sample of the “Glue Fungus” Hymenochaete confragosa on bits of old hazel, the only fungus in Britain which adopts the food-catching life-style so common in tropical jungles.

2) an elderberry tree with girth of approx. 2 metres at breast height, the biggest I have ever seen. Is it a Champion Tree? I shall have to look in the records of TROBI when I get home. (Tree Record of the British Isles, where the tallest, fattest, oldest of many tree species are recorded on a county, country and British basis). For fun, and as a group, we made some instant pea-shooters out of the pith-filled fallen stems of this tree and shot small, de-prickled fruits of Red Horse Chestnuts i.e. baby conkers in all directions!

3) lots of Cucumber Spiders (Arianella cucurbitina) shaken off one of the 90+ veteran oaks which is one of the few really green spider species in Britain. The unconventional use of my old brollie upturned as a beating tray was a surprise to some of the audience – why not? I never use it for its intended purpose!
This one I saw resting on the petals of a Dog Rose.
I liked the contrast of colours
The 2 hour walk kept us all busy and the drink and cheque afterwards were adequate rewards indeed.

18 June 

The Berkshire arm of BBOWT holds its Summer Barbeque for us band of “midweek volunteers” today. After a gentle morning of cutting bracken from their Moor Copse Reserve (less and less each year) we relax in the much needed shade of gazebos and munch, drink and chat whilst the nearby wildlife goes about its business with its ears burning. An afternoon stroll with Ian (BBOWT Berks Reserves Officer) is hugely informative, and we learn of some new site projects with which we shall get deeply involved next Winter. Nice to be so appreciated. Age and youth mix wonderfully well on our volunteering tasks.

19 June

Got the train to Wargrave, walked out to Mumbery Fields where tomorrow the recently formed “friends of” are showing the local community the results of their wildlife conservation activities. Because I am already booked up on the 20th I volunteered to do a recce of small-scale wildlife here to help them tomorrow. I arrive as the smart new interpretation board is being inserted. I spend 3 hours strolling around, mainly photographing small subjects and making a list. At this very leisurely pace I am bound to see something new, and am rewarded by the close-up of a pair of Tortoise Shieldbugs “perpetuating the species”. Elsewhere by the attention of a jumping spider – that group of spiders which can swivel their heads around to follow your every move, jump and turn in mid-air to land face to face.

Xysticus scenicus, a quite common jumping spider. The pair of enormous front facing eyes contribute to the complex behaviour of these spiders. They are CURIOUS, and will follow your every movement.

Back home with ID books around me I send photos and a list to those helping to run the event tomorrow. Interestingly they have included this new nature reserve on the list of “Wargrave Gardens to Visit” – which, in my mind, is a very satisfying definition of “garden”.

20 June

I am helping tutor BBOWT staff and trainees on “How to lead a guided walk”. My co-tutor Andy gives all the Trust information and guidance to our 12 “pupils” – my contribution is to throw out ideas on how to make a guided walk memorable and usefully different from the average ones we have all experienced. I used to be in PR and looked after the needs of thousands of visitors from all over the world to the research station, so have experienced the whole gamut of “guided walks”. By mid-afternoon we have listed many ideas worth putting into practice, not the least being those which engage listening, smelling and feeling for wildlife – why only LOOK for and at wildlife? I promote the idea of each “pupil” making a list of “the 10 things you didn’t know about xxxxx" where xxxxx can be some form of wildlife. For example did you know that the original name for Japan translates as “The Islands of Dragonflies”? Or that woodlice are “marsupial”? Or that “extract of bluebells” helped starch the ruff collars of Medieval gentlefolk?

21 June

A day of conflicting thoughts. Our local group (WMCV) is given the annual task of hoicking out 2m high Hemlock plants which still invade a public park in Maidenhead. Over 3 years the population is now much smaller due to our operations. We do this for several reasons e.g. to remove a toxic plant from the much visited area, to allow other plants to take over and to generally make the park a pleasant area for families (human and wildlife) to enjoy. However to our horror we see that the Travellers who illegally arrived 2 days ago in the adjacent field are using the park as a toilet – actually defecating in the middle of public paths whilst nearby we are doing our conservation task. It is unwise to intervene but we inform the Park Ranger who contacts the relevant “Authorities”. We also see broken seats and piles of dumped rubbish.
Attitudes to urban spaces and how they are abused or, hopefully, cherished as oases of wildlife and the disturbing conflict this causes rolled around in our minds well into the evening.

23 June

Tuesday, so it is a Burnham Beeches NNR day. Simon, Gill, Jamie (a new volunteer) and I sort out the things to do. Us chaps collect the contents of 20 pitfall traps and refill them with preserving fluid into which small beasties will fall over the next fortnight. This is all part of a long-standing project comparing the surface fauna of an area of woodland grazed by cattle, ponies (and formerly pigs) with that not grazed –or rather grazed by the occasional squirrel, muntjac and even smaller forest herbivorous mammals. My job is to sort the trap contents into separate piles of beetles, spiders, millipedes etc for further consideration BUT this can be done on rainy days or in the winter... not today.
Job 2 repeats that of pm June 9 – see above, but job 3 is a bit different. Burnham Beeches was purchased by the City of London in 1881 and became a very popular day out for thousands of Victorians by train to Slough, then charabanc to the Beeches. During a day in the woods, far from the smoke and grime of London they left their mark, in the form of graffiti carved in the smooth bark of the beech trees. As volunteers it is now our task to photograph this graffiti as a reflection of the social history of the place. Our interaction with the natural world takes many forms. There are dozens of trees at Burnham Beeches NNR with bark carved with messages, many with stories no longer decipherable.
I am reminded that on the border of Berks, Wilts and Hants there is a graffiti tree (a beech) which excels all others. I must seek it out again soon.

24 June

A day of rest...

25 June 

Thursday BBOWT midweek task, of course. 15 of us meet at Wildmoor Heath near Bracknell and aim to remove yet another area of bracken which otherwise would take over the much more valued heathland. Although 17 very friendly Dexter cattle chomp their way through birch, pine and other vegetation they avoid bracken. A lunch-break (for us and not the Dexters) provides a chance to seek out the special plants on a nearby bit of very wet bog. We are delighted to find thousands of tiny sundew plants glowing red against the mixed greens of Sphagnum mosses. And kneeling down to photograph the Cross-Leaved Heath I discover the minute case of the larva of a specialised micromoth, a big reward for the small sacrifice of getting the knees of my trousers soaked in bog water. Anyway, in the hottest day of the year so far (26oC) they soon dried off.

Larvae in the micromoth Genus Coleophora make protective cases, each species to its own design, isn’t nature wonderful!

26 June 

Walking in to Maidenhead this morning I find 2 female Stag Beetles trying to cross the very busy A304. Almost every year I rescue several of these kamikaze insects (males and females) from this stretch of road. Before Dutch Elm Disease the road was lined with many huge elm trees. I guess that even now there is a healthy population of grubs in the rotting root stocks from these trees which send up suckers in profusion, until the fungus strikes again.
Last night's really warm temperature probably stirred the sexual drive of these normally slow-moving beetles and it was a night for flying around shedding pheromones everywhere.
21.00h lay in the bath contemplating my pet spiders, each hanging in the ceiling corners of the room. These are the Daddy Long-legs spiders Pholcus which are common inhabitants of houses, especially those which are not too tidy and in which the temperature is fairly constant. I tolerate them happily as they catch any small flies which enter from the garden. They obviously breed as I have seen tiny ones. In winter they tend to hide in the darker corners behind the sink or cupboards. I’ve recently redecorated the bathroom but avoided the top corners of the room when applying a new coat of white paint to maintain their resting habitat. Every house should have a few resident spiders, they do us no harm despite this species, for its jaw size (far too small to pierce our skin), injecting a very potent venom into quite large prey. Do I give these housemates individual names? Not yet.

27 June 

My trap caught 20 species of moths last night, not bad for the site. I release them at about 6am, photographing each one to cause as little disturbance as possible. I scatter the moths resting on the egg-boxes (who uses anything else?) throughout my tree-filled garden to try and dissuade the Jackdaws who are fully aware of the opportunity of an early breakfast. Any moth trap builds up a supply of lamp-scorched small insects (midges mostly) which I tip out of the lamp housing onto the flat roof extension on which I normally place the equipment. Within a few minutes of climbing back through the adjacent bedroom window a mix of sparrows, goldfinches and chaffinches arrives and feasts on the fried minutiae. 

It actually rained a bit this evening, enough to make the pavement wet all over. It has not done this for at least two weeks in my part of Maidenhead. Leaving the house on a small errand I innocently inhaled that smell in the air, that mysterious yet immediately recognised smell “of the air after rain”. A session soon after on my laptop got me the essential details, it is petrichor – a new word for me and one invented in 1964 for this distinctive smell. It is the mixture of plant oils released from the soil by rain plus geosmin (another new word!) which is a byproduct of the activity of soil-living bacteria. When light rain falls onto soil each drop creates a tiny cloud of aerosols containing the above ingredients.
Us humans have inherited an affection, almost a spiritual uplift, for this smell from our ancestors who long recognised it as a signal of vital rains after adverse dry conditions.
“Petrichor?” from the Greek petros for “stone” and ichor for the fluid flowing from the veins of the Gods. I like the word even more now. No wonder people in some parts of the World go a little crazy at the first sign of the monsoon.

28/29 June

At 06.30h investigated the moth-trap set up in Gills garden for the first time. 18 species! despite the lid not being properly in place. The most colourful was the single Barred Yellow the larvae of which must feed on her neighbour’s numerous roses next door despite how very neat and tidy she keeps her garden.


The most interesting was the single White Point which must now be a regular immigrant …and the hot wind has been coming from the South for a day or two. 




A single Peppered Moth is the palest I have ever seen. This is the species which illustrated “industrial melanism” many years ago when it seemed that only the darker forms survived predation by matching the darker pollution stained bark of trees and other surfaces. My light specimen surely shows how very clean the air is these days??!! 

Gill and I decide to go for a walk with the excuse “let’s try and find a Triangle Spider! Hyptiotes paradoxus.” This rarity has been recorded in yew-woods in parts of the Chilterns, so we strike out from High Wycombe and aim for Hearnly Woods. We do find scattered old yews within the otherwise very mixed woodland, but no rare spiders, but we will return in August for another go at “peak time for the adults”. 
Patterns in nature often catch my eye and the almost fractal design of Bracken fronds did just this today. Looking closer I saw that almost all the fronds in this part of the wood had been visited by Chirosia grossicauda, a tiny fly which neatly rolls the fern leaflets into protective packages for its even smaller larvae.

Altogether the walk is hugely rewarding, clouds of butterflies (8 species), enormous drifts of orchids in a huge field, young deer drinking from their mother, and meeting perchance a lady photographing butterflies. Her T-shirt had “Environmental Services” on it so, of course, I enquired further. The services referred to included dog-walking and pest control which made me wonder what such environmental services actually comprise these days in a world that is becoming so anthropocentric? Baby-minding, colouring the water of your garden pond a fashionable bright blue?

29 June

Just 5 minutes walk from my house is Bray Pit, a small BBOWT Reserve, which I visit frequently. I treat it almost as my second garden as I am involved in the wildlife management programme of this area. It being another hot and sunny day I decide to go and wander over there. The 40 metre length of bramble bordering the access path is in full flower and attracts many insects seeking nectar and pollen. By standing and watching carefully I estimate 300 honeybees and maybe 40 bumblebees of various types foraging in the 5 minutes just past mid-morning. There are also several species of hoverfly as well as Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Tortoiseshell, Marbled White, Skippers. I am minded to leave a note to passers-by to remind them of the huge value of brambles both in high Summer (now) and later in the year when this particular jungle yields some very edible fruit (for us, as well as wildlife). 

This bramble campaign parallels my nettle campaign as both plants are so vilified by tidy gardeners and by some ill-advised conservation volunteers who dislike both the prickles and the stinging hairs. In reality both support a huge range of wildlife.
Not seen before on brambles in the Pit on this visit were mating pairs of this rather remarkable fly Sicus frrugineus. The female grabs bumble bees in flight to lay an egg on it hatching into a blood feeding larva. After its hosts death the fly larva pupates and remains in the host body until next Spring.

30 June

The month’s last day is the hottest, maybe the hottest day for many years here in the SE. It is also the day when the Mayor of the City of London (not the other one, Boris Johnson) visits Burnham Beeches and traditionally either plants a tree or creates a new beech pollard for the future. Gill and I are invited to attend as conservation volunteers at this National Nature Reserve.
But today it is the Lady Mayoress who cuts off the top half of a healthy young beechtree to start its existence as an iconic pollard for the next 2-3 hundred years. Her husband remains in City Chambers as last night Greece plunged further into chaos and EU markets went haywire. So in a temperature of 35oC and rising we applauded this essential ceremony, mingle with the worthy and the good.
Meanwhile wildlife adjusts itself to the heatwave, little birds with beaks agape and panting, crows crouching on the grass with wings draped over the shaded ground, a shrew, disturbed by the tramp of 30 people, panicking and seeking the shade under the instep of someone’s (occupied) walking boot.

We are promised thunderstorms tomorrow – boy they are much needed! The desiccated, shrivelled mosses will swell in minutes and function again. Aestivating newts I found in the mediocre moisture of a rotting fallen branch will return to its amphibian “real self”.
In contrast there will no doubt be complaints about local flooding, delays to the tennis at Wimbledon, aquaplaning cars on the M4, but wildlife – that reassuring constant in my life –will quietly adjust and keep the world turning.


Random acts in June? In reality there were only a few simply because I already have a routine set aside for nature and the conservation of wildlife. In retirement I have the luxury of doing more or less what I want, and my partner Gill is very accommodating. 

But I do like a challenge and enjoyed the random, unplanned moments, the unexpected encounters. Much of Nature these days is served on a plate, conforms to the expected, complies with themes such “the most dangerous 50”, “wildcat diaries”, “swimming with dolphins” etc. My maverick genes switch on when a challenge is presented and I seek alternatives to these well-worked themes.

Locally I am known to champion the commonplace simply because they are often overlooked or taken for granted. Also the “common” label attached to some wildlife e.g. the Common Toad, Common Butterwort, Common Tern etc are, in places, becoming far from common. They need more attention now in conservation plans or indeed protection in Law. For example the Maidenhead Common Toad population at a Registered Site has crashed from thousands to the low hundreds. Common species ARE important. I am reminded of something that Chris Packham said this year on “Spring Watch” (to the effect) that he’d rather spend an hour with woodlice than a whole day with the lions of the Serengeti. My sentiments too. Any real ecologist would say that, in the whole scheme of things, woodlice (and the myriad of other tiny fauna and flora) are more important than lions. So June has been a chance to seek and value the little things out there. Thank you Wildlife Trusts for the catalyst to help me.