Wildlife Watch, The Wildlife Trusts wonderful nature club for families and young wildlife enthusiasts between the ages of 8 and 13 is going from strength to strength in Nottinghamshire. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has long-established groups across the county and over the past few months we’ve been able to launch two great new groups thanks to the efforts of dedicated local volunteers and support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The new groups are based in Fernwood near Newark and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trusts’ own Idle Valley Nature Reserve just outside Retford. These are great additions, giving more Nottinghamshire families the opportunity to enjoy a range of wildlife themed activities in a safe and inspiring setting each month.
Fernwood Forest Schools, a new community project in the centre of a housing estate, has breathed life into the village’s green spaces by bringing families of all ages to the woodland and meadows. Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has been able to support the group to launch and run a new Forest School aimed at older children living on the estate. Meeting on a monthly basis, the children have reaped great benefits from the sessions: working as a team to collect fuel and light fires, being creative via art by using natural objects and engaging in physical exercise for den and nest building. The group has also attracted users with Autism and Asperger’s, providing a safe, stimulating and child-led environment which has resulted in children gaining confidence, new friends and skills.
“Jack loves Fernwood Forest School – he really enjoys exploring the outdoors via the activities you provide and has continued this interest at home, by growing his plant and keeping an eye on the insects in his little bug hotel. As you know, he has autism and, for us as parents, it is great to see Jack develop his team work skills with new people and to try new and challenging tasks in a safe environment” reported Claire, Mother of Jack.
The new Wildlife Watch group has taken off so well that there is even a waiting list and has attracted the interest of local Girl Guides group who’ve also been to the site to learn safe fire-lighting.
Emma Oldham, Forest Schools Practitioner and Volunteer for the project said, “A massive thank you to People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting our vision. Watching families explore the wildflower meadow as they discovered false black widow spiders and leopard slugs was electric and has certainly been a highlight of the project so far. The smiles on their faces were just so contagious!”
The new Idle Valley Wildlife Watch Group holds monthly sessions on the third Saturday each month near Retford, the next meeting is on 19th August, with a variety of activities including learning to light a camp fire safely to cook over it and den building. The Reserve has a specially sectioned off woodland area for the sessions where woodland bush craft skills can be learnt such as learning to use tools safely to make wooden pendants and crafts such as clay and natural woodland finds (moss and twigs etc) to form green men on trees.
Georgia Widdowson aged 6 said, “I like wildlife club because it’s fun and you learn about nature. I liked the one where we made flowers to feed butterflies.”
As well as regular monthly sessions, Wildlife Watch membership, with its own colourful and stimulating magazine, is available as part of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trusts Family Membership Package. Family Members receive a magazine and our Wildlife What’s On Events Guide, but named children within the family also get their own magazine packed with articles about wildlife and fun activities to try at home.
If you’d like to find out more about all of our Wildlife Watch Groups visit http://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/where-you-live
If you are interested in Family Membership of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, please call our Membership Team on 0115 958 8242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org