Helping children experience the wonders of nature

Harry Bellew

Thursday 28 September 2017

Young girl holding a ladybird with a RSPB volunteer

Charly Crump is a Schools Outreach Project Officer at the RSPB. Living in Bristol, she works on the RSPB and Aldi Connecting Children to Nature partnership helping children experience nature for the first time.

Here is a one-day diary of her working day from morning to night. 

My alarm goes off...

At 6:30am. I like to be up early so I can go for a run or do some yoga before I head off to work. Usually I get back with just enough time to have a shower, get changed and grab breakfast – usually some fruit and muesli – before I’m back out the door again at 8:30am.

I’m responsible for...

Showing children just how much nature there is right on their school's doorstep. These days children don’t spend as much time out in nature as their parents and grandparents did so they’re missing out on a wealth of physical and emotional benefits. Along with my fabulous team, I’m responsible for working with schools across Bristol to help children from 2-11 years old get spend more time outdoors, getting up close and personal with nature.

I got my job...

After doing a Primary Science PGCE at Exeter University. I’ve always had a passion for wildlife conservation, going back to when I was a child playing outside, climbing trees or looking after pet woodlice. It's frightening that children today are kept indoors more with the distraction of screens in our digital age, so I wanted to use my passion for nature and environmental education to show children just how amazing nature is and hopefully inspire them to get outside more and explore nature. 

My typical day starts at...

Starts at 8:45am. As soon as I'm at my desk I check my emails to see if we have any new bookings or enquiries from volunteers. If I have a school or nursery visit in the morning, I won’t have long in the office before I’m back on the road again. We offer two types of nature connection activities: a Giving Nature a Home session where we explore the school grounds for wildlife habitats; and a Bioblitz which involves searching for minibeasts and bugs under every rock, bush and doormat. It’s great to see the children’s faces light up when they find their first creepy crawly! Each free session lasts from an hour to 90 minutes so I aim to see at least 3 classes a day if I can. Since the project launched two-years ago we’ve helped over 10,000 school children in Bristol go on their own wild adventure so it’s been really busy, but it’s worth it to see so many kids getting involved. Before I finish at 5pm I’ll check my emails and make sure I have everything ready to inspire a new class the following day.

My most memorable work moment...

When a little boy found a slow worm on her school field and brought it up to show me in a tiny bug pot which it filled entirely. Bearing in mind these species can grow up to 50cm long it was quite a sight, but he was so happy with his find – it was a special moment! 

The most challenging part of my job...

Is when I arrive at a school for a session and their only outside space is a small square of tarmac with one dandelion growing through the cracks. 

The best part of my job...

Is seeing the fascination and thrill on the children’s faces when they discover something new. It’s special to be working with such an amazing team who are all helping to inspire children to love nature. 

What I'd like to achieve at the RSPB...

To help schools make environmental education part of their core curriculum. 

After work...

I get home at 6pm and cook dinner. I love to cook tasty vegan meals and often I’ll invite friends round to taste my latest dishes. 

With the help of Aldi, the RSPB offers free, 90-minute nature experience sessions for schools around the country. In the last two years, more than 240,000 children in over 1000 schools have started their own wild adventure with the RSPB. Find out how you can get involved where you are here

Last Updated: Monday 16 October 2017

Experience the wonders of nature

Girl with a worm in a biopot

Uncover the wildlife that makes its home in your school grounds!

Tagged with: Country: UK Topic: Education Topic: People Topic: Volunteering Topic: Youth