October, 2011


Bringing children and nature together


  • Create a home for wildlife

    What wildlife lives in the grounds of your school/home/club? Do you provide any safe, comfortable homes for them? Wildlife homes can be a really attractive feature, and may also be a use for that neglected corner that you don’t quite know what to do with. They could also make an ideal project to do with your class or group, as you could fit it around several curriculum areas.

    How about building a wildlife stack with some old bricks and tiles - a great opportunity to reuse some materials which might have otherwise gone to waste, whilst thinking about shape, proportion and balance. You could incorporate some natural materials such as pebbles and the odd herb plant to give your stack a bit of earthy texture.

    Perhaps you could start a wildlife corner, and create some small individual wildlife stacks, maybe plant a few wild flowers and see how it develops over the course of a year. You could have daily or weekly class monitors to survey the wildlife and minibeasts that you attract - we'd love to hear about how it develops.

    If you have a pond, why not try installing one of these frogitat homes? Your class could keep an eye on whether anybody moves in, and even create a 'home sweet home' sign.

    You hould use this hogitat to attract some hedgehogs to your grounds - a good way to reinforce learning about living things and their environment, and would keep your hedgehogs very happy.

    How about a good old-fashioned nestbox? You could integrate it into a technology project and get your students to design (and make) their own nestbox - we have instructions on our website. B&Q have launched a competition to design a bird box which would see the winning entry displayed in Kew Gardens.

  • Be a warden for a week

    South Essex Marshes are hosting their Warden Week event this coming half term (24th – 28th October) and they are still looking for young people to participate.

    This is a great opportunity to get some work experience, gain friends and get some hands-on experience of being a warden with the UKs biggest conservation charity. If this sounds interesting, read their blog for more details of the types of activitites you could be doing.

    There are nine places available, it’s free to take part, and is open to anybody between the ages of 16-19. So if you know somebody who might be interested in this great opportunity, or want more information please get in touch on 01268 498623 or email hannah.chisholm@rspb.org.uk. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis so be quick!

  • Get outdoors and explore

    There are some fantastic initiatives and competitions to get children and young people outdoors and active, whilst getting involved with nature at the same time.

    One initiative we have worked with is the John Muir Award, an environmental award scheme focused on wild places. The award provides a progressive structure for learning outdoors, whilst encouraging people of all backgrounds to connect, enjoy and care for wild places through its four challenges: discover - explore - conserve – share.

    Although the competition is now closed, National Geographic Kids have been looking for their Young Adventurer of the year, with results to be announced shortly at the National Geographic Store on London’s Regent Street (23 October - it's free, so why not drop in if you're in the area). Perhaps you can get your students thinking about what an adventurer is, and how they can become adventurers on their own doorstep.

    Whilst we’re thinking of adventures, how could I not mention the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards? With three levels of awards – bronze, silver and gold young people can achieve an award that is going to give them skills for life at the same time as enabling them to engage with nature. Many of the young people involved in these awards have their lives turned around, as they are introduced to a host of activities which they wouldn't ordinarily experience.

    Of course, I couldn't end this blog without a mention of our very own Wildlife Action Awards, a scheme which enables children to get out there and experience nature for themselves which can be done through school, a group or at home.