Monday 18th April 2016: The Microscopic World

The April indoor meeting for the Wildlife Explorer and Phoenix groups was focused on “The Microscopic World” and was jam packed of fun activities to highlight the fascinating natural world that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Junior Leader Kat got the meeting off to a start with her excellent quiz where members were tasked with identifying some close-up shots of some familiar and un-familiar animals including birds, butterflies and reptiles
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Next Leader Martin presented the groups with some fantastic award winning video footage which allowed us to see into the microscopic world in amazing detail. Leader Tina’s favourite animal made an appearance in HD as we zoomed in 400 times to watch a water bear, or tardigrade, wriggle about in it’s natural habitat.
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After Leader Martin’s talk we split into 3 groups for some hands-on activities to explore the microscopic world for ourselves. The first activity made use of some excellent 3D nature books to get up close and personal with lots of different types of wildlife.
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 Activity 2 was a chance to revisit some of the insect skins, kindly donated last year by Jonathan’s Jungle Roadshow, using our trusty USB microscope. Seeing the discarded skins of tarantula and whip tailed scorpions in close-up detail helps generated some great Oooh’s and Aahhh’s from members 🙂
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The last activity gave members the chance to use a proper optical microscope with pre-prepared whole insect slides. Leaders showed how to set up the slides properly and then get in focus views of the slides of a fleas, silkworms and an ant at different magnifications.
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Next it was time for a great craft activity. Members made their very own artistic microscope slides! As usual some brilliant creations were made to take home and surprise surprise a few water bears made an appearance again 🙂
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To draw the meeting to an end it was time for a quick game of ‘True or False’ from Leader Martin, which got everyone running around while learning a few interesting facts about the microscopic world!
Wildlife Explorer Dyllan Szostakowicz, was presented with a prize as winner of our Bird Feeder Challenge competition with this brilliant picture of birds in his garden. Wildlife Explorers were asked to record the birds visiting fat ball feeders supplied by our friends at Chapel Wood Garden Wildlife Care.
Thanks to everyone who came along to our April meeting and thanks to all the leaders who came up with all the microscopic themed activities.

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