Guest blog by Stacey Baldwin, Community and Volunteer Officer for RSPB Cymru's Giving Nature a Home in CardiffSummer is finally here in Cardiff, bringing with it a mixed bag off sunshine and heavy downpours. But the rain does mean one thing - our rivers are sparkling, flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing and the butterflies are fluttering here, there and everywhere over the meadows at Forest Farm.
Forest Farm Country Park in Whitchurch, Cardiff, is teeming with life: on my last visit alone I spotted a friendly caterpillar munching happily upside down on a leaf, overturned a log to find squiggly wiggly worms contentedly curled in the shade, and even got to rescue a small baby frog who had strayed a little bit too far from its pond.
Forest Farm Images: Martyn Poynor
It’s the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon, and with the City of Cardiff Council’s Park Rangers on hand it’s also the perfect place to learn a little more about our wonderful wildlife. I now know that the red campion and white campion are actually the same flower; I know that a bittern has been seen making its home at Forest Farm in recent years; and I know our hard working Rangers are the reason we have so many green spaces to enjoy here in our city of Cardiff.
But what I and the Rangers don’t know is what types of butterflies are flying around and making their home in Forest Farm!
Here on our doorstep there are hundreds of butterflies, in the air, in the trees, in the grass and on the flowers. Cardiff Council Rangers want your help to work out exactly which butterflies are living in this very special nature reserve and how we can help to look after them.A red admiral at rest - Andy Hay (rspb-images)So mums, dads, children, grandparents, now’s the time to pack up a picnic, put on your sun cream and head out into the sunshine to find some butterflies.
Do your little ones love to jump and chase the butterflies as they flutter past them in the air? Does your love having fun in the great outdoors? Are your family wondering what to do this summer holiday?
Come on down to Forest Farm on 30 July and lend us a hand. Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff will be hunting through the grass searching for our red admirals, cabbage whites, brimstones and meadow browns. And don’t worry about being an expert as the team will be on hand throughout the day to offer some handy hints and tips.
We’re teaming up with the Big Butterfly Count this July to make our butterflies count. Everyone can help: so whether you 5 years old or 55 years old, help us find our butterflies and have fun in the wild – you’re also welcome to celebrate our butterfly counting with some face painting when we’re done!
Join us at 11am, Saturday 30 July at Forest Farm. Bring your picnic and join us for lunch Free parking is available on site, but we’ll also be close to Radyr train station, and the Whitchurch Library Cardiff Bus stop.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest blog by Carolyn Robertson, Project Manager for RSPB Cymru's Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff
Last year, we saw a giant spider’s web in Cardiff’s Bute Park, holding over 10,000 people as they climbed inside to experience a moment like no other in the trees.
Images: TAPE in 2015 by Martyn Poynor
Now following the success of TAPE last summer, our Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff project is busy preparing for a follow-up event called In the Eyes of the Animal, opening in Bute Park on 15 July. A chance to experience Bute Park like never before through a 360 degree virtual reality experience in a world of woodland creatures. Image: In the Eyes of the Animal by Luca MarzialeUsing technology to encourage more people into the park, change people's perspectives and reinterpret the natural world, audiences will wear virtual reality headsets and a motion pack to be transported on a multi-sensory journey, all through the eyes of an owl, a dragonfly and a frog native to Bute Park.
From creeping on the woodland floor to flying through the canopy as an insect - your body vibrating and buzzing as the ground jitters below you - the experience doesn’t end there. Families can also enjoy some extra wild time with additional wildlife detective activities each day and nature storytelling sessions amongst the trees with Cardiff Libraries.
Free and open every day from 8am - 7pm from 15 July - 4 August, we’re delivering the event with arts organisation Migrations, in partnership with the City of Cardiff Council, thanks to funding from the Welsh carrier bag levy and Arts Council of Wales.
So if you've ever wondered what it's like to fly through the trees or jump like a frog – we can’t wait to see you at the Summerhouse Café in Cardiff’s Bute Park for the start of an unforgettable experience with nature! For further information please email Carolyn.Robertson@rspb.org.uk or visit http://migrations.uk/home.
Guest Blog by Bethan Casseldine - Community Engagement Voluntary Intern for Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff Having recently joined the Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff team on a six month internship, I’m lucky enough to work on a range of different tasks on daily basis; all of which allow me to enjoy the great outdoors while helping to save our wildlife - from family events and school sessions, to working with community groups and volunteers. As part of the project we actively encourage children and families to take an interest in the bugs and birds that live on their doorstep or in their local park, and in May we held two special events specifically designed for Cardiff’s younger generation. By encouraging toddlers to spend more time having fun in the wild, we decided to work with one of Cardiff’s most popular visitors - worms!
The children enjoying playing with the worms - image RSPB Cymru
The events were held at Techniquest in Cardiff Bay and Parc Play in the city centre, where children were able to hunt for some lovely minibeasts and catch some slithering worms. As well as getting the opportunity to get up close with some real life worms, families were in for a treat as they took part in a special storytelling session of ‘Superworm’ by Julia Donaldson. They discovered all there is to know about the adventures of the wiggly, squiggly worms they met, and how worms too have a special heroic part to play in nature. Some children were keener than others when it came to holding our wriggling worms, but even the most cautious of toddlers were getting stuck in my the end of the day.
It was so nice to see the children enjoying themselves and watching their faces light up as they played with the worms, and as they told us all about the nature they’d found in their own gardens. For some children however, this was their first ever interaction with wildlife and it was fantastic to see them getting close with nature at such a young age, hopefully creating some fond memories which will stay with them as they grow older. It’s therefore safe to say the events were a success and the children certainly now see worms as their new nature heroes! If you would like to come along to any of our events this summer, please email the team at email@example.com or follow us twitter @RSPBCymru or Facebook at RSPB Cymru.Reading 'Superworm' by Julia Donaldson - image RSPB Cymru