Lark in the Park 2015!

‘Lark’

noun

  1. A frolicsome adventure, a spree. (from Oxford English Dictionary)
  2.  a small ground-dwelling songbird with elongated hind claws and a song that is delivered on the wing, typically crested and with brown streaky plumage. (Google definition).

I think it comes from working with books; I sometimes get these strange ideas – like trying my hand at etymology. To be fair, it’s so easy these days what with t’internet. Today I learned that ‘lark’ as a verb (meaning to engage in harmless fun or mischief) probably derives from a not only the beautiful aerial display of the skylark but also has roots in the traditional Yorkshire dialect (which itself has Scandinavian influence from the Viking invasion in the 9th Century) . The Yorkshire word ‘lake’ means to amuse oneself; when pronounced by locals it could have been mistaken for ‘lark’ and helped to create a new meaning for the word.

Anyway, I didn’t create this blog to talk about words. The real topic of this post is Lark in the Park which took place on National Play Day; Wednesday 5th August at Bridgford Park, West Bridgford.

image
The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust stalls at Lark in the Park 2015, West Bridgford.

I was there with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. We arrived nice and early to set up the marquees and tables. Our stall had a variety of fun games and activities for children including hook a duck, make your own butterfly puppets, a microscopy workshop and a huge nature table! We were also promoting the upcoming Skylarks Heritage Festival at NWT’s newest nature reserve which recently underwent a huge transformation. Katie & I started the morning by foraging for interesting samples to use in the microscopy workshop – I found some cool lichen and we got a good selection of seeds and leaves to look at too.

I spent most of the day after that helping out with the children’s craft activities. It got really busy around mid-morning so we moved some of the displays to make more space for all the children who wanted to make butterflies. It was great fun! The kids coloured in a card template (cut out by us in advance) with pens, crayons or pastels.

We had a few FSC butterfly ID foldouts and Butterfly Conservation ID charts (free to download from their website) around for inspiration so the visitors could copy a real butterfly image if they liked, or create their own fantastical patterns. Some were attached to clothes pegs to make a pretty decoration (or a hair clip we discovered!) and others were stuck on lollipop sticks to make puppets, complete with fluffy pipe cleaner antennae. They even flapped their wings if you waved them around! I made a Comma and a Peacock butterfly as examples – they will be living on my windowsill until the next event 🙂

While the children were colouring, we talked about the symmetry in the butterfly’s wings and clever adaptations such as the peacock’s ‘eyes’ (to scare away predators). I also mentioned the Big Butterfly Count  which ends at the weekend and encouraged the families to spend some time watching the wildlife in their garden and submit any sightings to Butterfly Conservation (read about my participation here).

Play time is such an important part of a child’s development and in today’s society it can be difficult for parents on low incomes to get their children to parks and fairs which then often have extra costs once they arrive. The Lark in the Park, as part of National Play Day is an important day in the Nottingham event calendar. Most of the activities were free and the park is easily accessible by public transport (Nottingham City Transport offer a grouprider ticket in the holidays – just £4.50 for 2 adults, 3 children to travel on the network all day). This means that the event brought people together from varying backgrounds but with a common goal – a lark for all the family!

All images subject to copyright. All opinions expressed on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the view of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust for whom I volunteer, or any other organisation.

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