Sometimes a week goes so fast, you can’t quite believe that so much has happened…. this week has been one of those and it is nice today to sit in my office, watching my birds and thinking about the next projects that are on the horizon!
As many will already know, education lies at the heart of what I do and being a primary teacher, passing on my enthusiasm and love of the natural world is what I am all about. It is not just children I love working with, but adults as well and I strongly believe that children are just as interested as they have always been, but the environment that they are growing up in often means they do not have the opportunities to engage with the natural world that many of us did. In fact, many of the parents I meet did not either… but that does not mean they are not interested; show them simple ways to attract and engage with wildlife, without having to be an expert, and they are soon captivated.
This week, I had arranged for Steve and Debbie from S&D Falconry to bring their barn owls into school. As part of their Year 3 topic, the children are looking at Living Things and learning about animals in their environment. Wherever possible, I feel it is important that children experience nature first-hand. Yes, we had looked at pictures and amazing videos of barn owls…. but nothing is as fantastic as seeing them for real. I have worked with Steve and Debbie before and , although I run the session, it is very special to have such a wonderful barn owl as Mollie in the classroom! Raised in the house , she thinks she is a human, is incredible calm and tame and this gives the pupils a chance to get up close and personal. It is something that many of them will never forget!
You can see a blog post on our school website HERE, but I wanted to include a couple of pictures from the day here. We had a great time and I just hope some of these pupils will be lucky enough to see a barn owl in the wild one day. Thanks to all the conservation work that is going on, I feel confident that this is now likely.
My Wildlife Club were also busy…. they had a go at building their own nest. We were surprised how hard it was and will appreciate what our birds manage to do all the more now! You can read more about it HERE on our blog.
After school, I then drove down to London to stay with a friend, so I could attend the EcoBuild Show at the ExCel Arena on Wednesday. I had been asked if I would do a talk on the Biodiversity Pavilion. This show was not one I had been to before and was full of all sorts of interesting eco solutions for building. The Biodiversity area gave me the chance to meet up with some people I already knew and to make a few more contacts too! There were some great speakers and I really enjoyed it. Hopefully all those who stopped to listen to my talk enjoyed it and are new visitors now to my website!
On Friday, I was back in the classroom, this time in an infant school I visit quite regularly. As part of their Science Week, they had hatched some eggs in school. Using a great little project called ‘Living Eggs’, the eggs arrive in school a few days from hatching and are collected a couple of weeks later. With all the kit included, it is a great project for teachers who want that special experience, but don’t want to buy all the kit or have too much of the hassle! I ran session isn all the year groups, from Reception to Year 2, teaching the children a little more about eggs and the chicken life cycle and then the best bit… getting the chicks out. Previously staff had been a little nervous about allowing children to hold the chicks, so this is where I come in! Correctly approached and with a calm and controlled environment, this is definitely the best bit of the project! I love watching the children’s faces, when they hold this tiny little life in their hands… it is golden!
It has certainly been a great, if not rather hectic, week! I am based more at home next week… a chance to catch up with Gardeners’ World Live plans and preparations and all the other projects that are happening… just hope that snow stays away. With activity in the pond and interest in the nest boxes, I have a feeling things are going to slow for a bit again. May be that female blackbird I saw collecting nesting materials will change her mind too!