The RSPB has been working in conjunction with the BBC in the production of their Live 'n' Deadly teachers pack. If you're not familiar with the popular children's TV programme, you can take a look at their web pages here.
The action packed TV show is designed to encourage young people to get out and active, and to experience nature first-hand - what's not to like about that?
The teachers pack contains a host of activities that can be used with your class, and will definatley appeal to their sense of adventure. There's a range of information, resources, lesson plans and a DVD with all the video clips you need (also available on the website). Don't worry if you have an urban inner city school, as the lessons have been designed with that in mind.
The teachers pack is aimed at Primary Schools, and you can download or order the resource from the website here.
The Ellon RSPB Wildlife Explorer Group has achieved a lot since its launch in 1995 – winning “Group of the Year” in 2007 and achieving a Gold Wildlife Action Award in 2009, to name some of the highlights. So when two of the older members of the group were looking for a new challenge, they weren’t about to take on anything easy!CREST are nationally-recognised, project-based awards for the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), which are organised by the British Science Association. They awards are designed for young people aged 11 – 19, but Ellie and Lewis from the Ellon Group decided to take on the challenge of achieving a Bronze CREST award at only 10 years old!After taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch earlier this year, Ellie and Lewis obtained data for the previous 15 years surveys in the same garden and decided to analyse this data to research how bird numbers had changed over this period of time. They focussed their studies on house and tree sparrows and set about trying to establish and test theories regarding the changes in numbers of these species.
Not only had Ellie and Lewis taken part in an interesting and innovative project, but they were also invited to present their findings to RSPB volunteers at a volunteer day in Aberdeen, speaking to four separate seminar groups!Ellie and Lewis have been a real inspiration to other members of the Ellon Wildlife Explorer Group, and have featured in our RSPB Leaders Guide to promote the CREST awards to other Widllife Explorer and Phoenix Groups in the UK.
To find out more about CREST awards, visit http://www.britishscienceassociation.org/web/ccaf/CREST/.
Christmas is a time of year when it’s very tempting to shut out the cold grey outside world and cosy up inside with all those lovely new gadgets and gizmos and a great big tin of chocolates. However we should also remember that this time of year is particularly special in the natural calendar, it’s the time when the hours of daylight reach their minimum and by the time Christmas day comes they’ll have started to get longer again – hooray!
If you’re having a Christmas party with your group or class you might like to take the focus away from tinsel and presents and try something a bit different this year. Have a go at some of these ideas to get outside and appreciate nature at this special time of year:Give your Christmas robins a treat with some sparkly bird food decorations.
Make some pine cone decorations to hang up on the trees outside. Use the speedy bird cake recipe from our youth pages but push the mixture into the gaps in some dry pine cones. Tie a piece of ribbon to the cone to hang it with and finally, to make it extra specially beautiful for Christmas, roll the cone in some sparkly cake decorations, these are perfectly safe for birds to eat and will give your bird food decoration some extra sparkle. Make a reindeer trail.
Mix some sparkly cake decorations with some bird food and get the children to lay a trail of it outside their homes for the reindeer to follow. Reindeer don’t like bird food, but it’s easy to spot from their sleigh and will make a lovely Christmas breakfast for all the hungry birds in the morning.Brave the cold and have a Christmas scavenger hunt.
Help children to see recognise the variety of colours, shapes and textures that are hidden within what can look like a very barren winter landscape. Encourage children to play with the idea of scale, for example, a curled-up leaf would make a great sleigh for a tiny Father Christmas. Can they find something to be:o A Christmas Treeo A baubleo Tinselo A gifto A sleigh for Santao An item of clothing for an elfo A star for the top of the Christmas treeo An angel’s wingo A jewelo A blanket (or thread to knot a blanket)
Guest Blogger: Elana Bader, Education Officer, Scotland Headquarters
RSPB Abernethy & Insh Marshes’ field teaching programme has achieved its Quality Badge assessment from the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom. Abernethy & Insh Marshes’ programme was rated as ‘Good’ or ‘Very Good’ in all aspects, in particular the quality of active learning delivered. This Living Classroom is a fantastic resource providing plenty of opportunities for various activities, including the largest remaining remnant of ancient Caledonian Forest and the famous Loch Garten Osprey Centre. In the last school year alone, the site engaged with with hundreds of children from the surrounding area.
All seven RSPB Living Classrooms sites in Scotland now have the LotC Quality Badge:
RSPB Abernethy & Insh Marshes
RSPB at Loch Leven (previously Vane Farm)
RSPB Loch of Strathbeg
RSPB at Kelvingrove
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.rspb.org.uk/livingclassrooms/abernethy.aspx.
About RSPB Abernethy & Insh Marshes:
Abernethy National Nature Reserve includes the largest remnant of native Caledonian Pine Forest in Scotland, as well as moorland, loch, bog and montane habitats, and is home to nationally scarce species of birds such as capercaillie, crossbill and crested tit, as well as red squirrels and pine marten. In the last survey of the reserve, it was found to be home to over 4,200 species of plants and animals.
Insh Marshes is a unique habitat, forming an integral part of the flood plain of the River Spey and it is one of the most important wetlands in Europe. During the winter months, most of the reserve is underwater, and plays host to flocks of whooper swans and greylag geese. In contrast, when the water recedes in the summer, there are nesting lapwings, redshanks and curlews. The beautiful and colourful backdrop of aspen and birch, wildflowers, and grassland provide homes for many other species as well, including foxes and roe deer.
Loch Garten Osprey Centre is world famous for its ospreys and as the site where ospreys first returned to Scotland in the 1950s after their extirpation in the early twentieth century. It was the first Osprey Centre opened to the public and one of only a handful of public osprey watching sites in the UK. The ecologically designed centre looks out to the osprey nest visible with the naked eye and is equiped with binoculars and telescopes and dispays. CCTV cameras on the nest and surrounding area relay video to the centre and also to the webcam on the RSPB website so that people from around the world follow the annual fortunes of the Loch Garten osprey pair and their chicks.
About the Quality Badge Scheme:
The Quality Badge scheme is a Government programme designed to indicate to schools the quality and safety of out-of-classroom learning that educators provide. The RSPB have adopted the scheme as an objective assessment of our national field teaching programme at our “Living Classrooms”.
Last week RSPB Scotland hosted “Christmas Tweats”, a well-attended CPD (continuous professional development) event at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. The event focused on how teachers and their classes can get school grounds wildlife-friendly ready for Christmas. Teachers enjoyed listening and learning with our singing birds’ Christmas Choir, made bird feeders, and built up knowledge about creating wildlife-friendly spaces, however big or small.
There was also an introduction to our international engagement through the “Save the Albatross” and the “Save the Sumatran Rainforest” appeals, and a heads up for our Big Schools Bird Watch in January 2012, which all received an enthusiastic response. Lots of ideas and laughter were shared, and tasty mince pies and mulled wine provided a heart-warming ending to the afternoon.
RSPB Scotland’s partnership with the National Museum of ScotlandDuring the 2011/2012 school year, RSPB Scotland field teaching staff - in partnership with NMS staff - will deliver a series of workshops to primary and secondary pupils visiting the museum’s new gallery spaces, which re-opened in July 2011 after extensive refurbishment.
The workshops are focussed on Scotland’s wildlife and special habitats. Primary pupils learn about creature adaptations and habitat creation, whilst secondary pupils discuss the effects of reintroduction projects on ecological systems, and examine in detail the reintroduction of White-tailed eagles.
If you are a primary or secondary school teacher and would like to book a workshop, please contact the NMS at email@example.com, or 0131 247 4041. The Youth & Education team at RSPB Scotland can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.