A seasonal indoor meeting – The meeting kicked off with identifying tree leaves using a variety of resources – posters, ID charts and identification books.
After a quick introduction about how and why leaves change colour in autumn everyone got hands-on with some real ones with a leaf litter sieving activity. Tiny invertebrates were then collected in bug pots and examined using a USB microscope with images projected on the big screen to give incredible detail on both anatomy and behaviour.
Specimens collected included centipede, devil’s coach horse, money spider, slug, springtail and harvestman. All of the minibeasts were returned to the leaf litter to be released at a later date.
Leader Helen organised a wonderful nature craft using pressed fallen leaves in sumptuous, autumn colours. Explorers showed great imagination and created some fabulous pictures.
Phoenix members then learned all about Pseudoscorpions – tiny arachnids that can be found in lots of habitats including leaf litter (we had even found one earlier on in the evening whilst leaf litter sieving).
The evening finished off with a quick autumnal game – grey squirrels versus red squirrels – two teams of squirrels competing for acorns on the ground. Red squirrels were victorious!