Every year Wildlife Explorers head into the woods at the end of National Tree week to celebrate trees and their importance to wildlife, people and our culture. Trees are decorated with a mix of natural materials. Budding artists took inspiration from the festive season, the natural world, mythology and popular culture. All the materials used are biodegradable and leave minimal impact on the environment as they weather and degrade. This year’s tree dressers were extremely fortunate, enjoying a couple of hours of dry mild weather in what was otherwise a very wet weekend, perfect conditions for working outdoors with clay. … Click here for more information…..
Our temporary home for the December Indoor meeting was Parkroyal school. We made the most of the lovely surroundings and access to the hall for our session on Nature’s Superheroes. To start off with everyone collated a booklet of nature puzzles and colouring.Leader Martin explained how some incredible creatures use ‘super powers’ to help them survive. We learned about the speed of cheetahs and peregrine falcons, the visual acuity of Buzzards, the strength of dung beetles and the design skills of decorator crabs! Martin also explained the arsenal of defensive and attack weapons of the box jelly and leopard sea … Click here for more information…..
Wildlife Explorers headed to RSPB Coombes Valley Nature Reserve for a morning of practical conservation work in Bellpit Meadow, a short drive from the Visitor Centre. The weather gods looked kindly upon the group and we benefitted from yet another dry outdoor session, despite a dubious forecast earlier in the week. The first task was to plant around 100 hawthorn saplings around the edge of the meadow using a slit planting technique. Warden Paul Bennett demonstrated and then explained how to use the tools correctly. As well as raking up bramble and nettle that had been cut earlier in the … Click here for more information…..
It’s normally only possible to rouse Wildlife Explorers before dawn once a year – for the annual Dawn Chorus Walk, but the chance of an early morning walk at NT Lyme Park to observe the red deer rut was impossible to resist. Wrapped up warm, families gathered at the main car park before sunrise armed with torches and binoculars. Ranger Craig gave us an introduction to the history of Lyme Park, the deer herds on the site and the behaviour of red deer during the rut. At we set out at the start of the walk we could hear … Click here for more information…..
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 … Click here for more information…..
For the first time Wildlife Explorers joined forces with Macclesfield Town Council to run our annual ‘Nature Needs You’ event in conjunction with ‘Welly Walk’ at West Park. The morning started with unpromising weather – high winds and threatening rain – but everyone worked hard to get the gazebo and all of our equipment in place. It wasn’t long before the visitors started arriving. The team rans lots of hands-on activities – all with a ‘helping nature’ theme. As well as making bird nestboxes, bee homes and wildflower seedbombs, children made bird food and planted native tree seeds. … Click here for more information…..
The first indoor session kicked off with ‘Tides – Life at the Water’s Edge’ a reminder for some of summer holidays spent by the coast! Abercrombie organised a fascinating shell quiz for the joining activity. Explorers learned lots about the variety of shells and how to spot the odd one out! Leader Martin explained how and why we get tides and then discussed some of the challenges for the creatures living in the intertidal zone. Our craft for the session was strandline printing – recreating an intertidal zone in art, complete with seaweed, flotsam and jetsam on the strandline, using … Click here for more information…..
An enthusiastic team of families gathered at the Jodrell Bank Arboretum for the first outdoor meeting of the new Wildlife Explorer programme. Gardener Phil Bolton, had organised a busy morning work party with tasks for Explorers of all ages to get involved in. Last year we worked on sprucing up the bird hide (which still looks great) and clearing the bird feeder area of bramble to allow clear views to the wildlife pond. This year, helped by the long,dry summer the wildlife pond has all but dried out, providing an ideal opportunity to clear some of the encroaching vegetation away … Click here for more information…..
Leaders from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers ran a selection of education outreach sessions for RSPB Coombes Valley Nature Reserve at schools in Leek. The team visited Year 5 at St. Mary’s Catholic Academy and Springfield Special School. As well as covering the work of the RSPB, the sessions highlighted the importance of wildflower meadows as habitats for a whole host of creatures. Children played games to illustrate the wide range of animals and birds found in meadows and were set challenges to compare the diversity of meadow and rainforest habitats. There were happy, muddy hands all round as children (and … Click here for more information…..
The penultimate indoor meeting of the season focussed on birds of prey and the incredible adaptations that make them formidable airborne hunters. Leader Martin explained that as well as sharp beaks and powerful talons (all perfected to deal with different prey) these birds have a whole host of mind-boggling special features to make them efficient and effective predators. In owls the facial disc channels sound precisely to allow hunting at night and their feathers have a soft edge facilitating silent flight, enough to surprise unsuspecting mice and voles. The fastest animal on earth, the peregrine falcon, can only achieve amazing … Click here for more information…..