Wildlife Watch 2016 at Attenborough

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to write for a few weeks. Among other things, I’ve been moving house (again) but I finally had a few days off at the beginning of this week and finished my move and I’m very very happy with my new room and housemates. More about that later – for now, I want to talk to you about Wildlife Watch.

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Attenborough Nature Centre on a January afternoon.

A few weekends ago I attended Wildlife Watch at Attenborough Nature Reserve for the first time, with a view to leading a session later in the year. I have been co-leading the City Wildlife Watch group (based at Wollaton Hall) for just over a year now. It’s so much fun and really rewarding – you can read about my first solo led bee-themed session here.

Wildlife Watch is the junior branch of The Wildlife Trusts and we have over 100 clubs up and down the country. The clubs are run by volunteers but are generally overseen by The Wildlife Trusts who send us ideas and updates in our quarterly leaders magazine, as well as providing branding for our newsletters and merchandise. Members have their own website and get a quarterly magazine from The Wildlife Trusts which is filled with animal facts and wildlife watching tips, fun games and projects for making at home and even posters. A friend of mine, Sorrel, who helps at the City Watch group recently set up a nature table at her school, using the Wildlife Watch posters to great effect.

So Sunday was a lot of fun. We had planned a bit of bird watching with a visit to Tower Hide followed by some painting in the classroom, decorating stones and wooden discs (which the kids sawed under supervision) to create our own versions of tic tac toe. It was a much larger group than I’ve experienced at City Wildlife Watch; we had 4 new children and 6 that had been before.

The session was being filmed for a new Wildlife Trust promotional advert (hopefully I will be able to post the video when it becomes available).

One of the things I enjoy most when it comes to volunteering with children is the opportunity to help shy and nervous children socialise and making sure that everyone is included in the group. There are dominant personalities in any societal group but I think it’s especially important to help children listen to each other, empathise and recognise differences in opinion. The natural world seems to be the perfect environment to do this in as, in my experience, it distracts people from themselves.

It was a great afternoon, and just what I needed really in terms of a break from the stress of moving and all the things I had to think about. I’m looking forward to continuing with my involvement in Attenborough Watch group this year. Here’s our plan for the next few months:

February – It’s national nest box week! We’ll take a short walk around the reserve with binoculars, do some birdwatching and finish up by making our own bird feeders to take home and hang in the garden.

March – Our Wildlife Watch children will be running a stall at the Broxtowe Family Event at Attenborough Nature Reserve. Hopefully they will be encouraging other families with nature activities including arts & crafts, tours of the sand martin hide and possibly a bug hunt.

April – One of our group leaders is a qualified bat carer and rehabilitates injured bats at her home. She will tell us all about bats and will be bringing in one of her real live bats for the children to see.

May – With Summer on the way we will be heading out to the meadow to take a look at the wildflowers. We will learn about the importance of pollination and undertake a quick bumblebee survey before talking about we can help the pollinators in our gardens and sowing some of our own wildflower seeds in pots to take home.

June -The return of The Wildlife Trusts’ “30 Days Wild” campaign. From making crowns and masks from natural materials, to pond dipping in our big lake; we will be getting stuck in with all kinds of wild activities.

There will be plenty more planned for the later half of the year 🙂 I can’t wait!

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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