Monday 18th November 2019: Sustainability – Getting Greener for Nature

Our last indoor meeting of 2019 was held on a wet and dark evening with quite a few members not able to join us due to autumnal colds and other ailments! The grey night made the leaders even more keen to get everyone intrigued and excited about the night’s topic which was ‘Sustainability – Getting Greener for Nature’. Leader Natalie along with Leader Kat wrangled attendees into an initial Sustainability bean bag game where lots of household items were sorted into different categories (Recycle, Reuse / Repair or Compost) by throwing labelled bean bags into hula hoops!  You’ve got to … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 9th November 2019: Conservation – Danes Moss

Despite a very cold start, Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers assembled a group of enthusiastic family volunteers for a morning of conservation work at Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s reserve Danes Moss. The reserve, near Macclesfield, is Cheshire’s largest and highest lowland raised bog – one of the scarcest and most threatened habitats in Britain and a really important habitat for carbon-capture, which is vital in the fight against climate change. Recent work by contractors has cleared areas of the site of tree saplings, however, much of the brash has been left in situ. If this material was allowed to rot down it … Click here for more information…..

Monday 21st October 2019: Secrets of Seeds

On arrival Explorers created paper bags that would then be used to carry home other craft items and a bag of sunflower seeds . Imaginations ran riot and there were some fantastic designs – one bag even had a working drawbridge. The group learned why seeds are important in the life cycle of a plant and as a food source for other organisms. A ‘True of False’ quiz introduced some fascinating facts about seeds from across the world and even outer space! (Did you know there were seeds on the international Space Station?) Everyone then decorated a couple of small … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 12th October 2019: Nature Needs You Welly Walk – West Park

Wildlife Explorers were delighted to join forces with Macclesfield Town Council for their annual joint event – Welly Walk/Nature Needs you. The focus of the event is to encourage families of all ages to take action to help local wildlife and get outside to have fun learning about the natural world. Wildlife Explorers arranged a whole host of nature-themed activities. Visitors could make lavender bags, plant native trees and meadow wildflowers, plus a whole host of bird food and bird feeders, from apple core toadstools and pine cone feeders loaded with fat and seeds to wiggly pastry worms for the … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 22nd September 2019: Jodrell Bank Work Party

After heavy overnight thunderstorms and torrential rain Wildlife Explorers travelled through flooded roads to get to the Jodrell Bank Arboretum for the first work party of the season. Becky and Phil from the Gardens Team had organised some conservation work at the wildlife pond in the Arboretum. The area was quite overgrown and needed clearing in order for the access and views from the bird hide to be maintained as well as allowing other volunteer groups to work around the pond margins. As the pond area is further restored over the coming months the habitat will be greatly improved for … Click here for more information…..

Monday 16th September 2019: All Creatures Great and Small – A Virtual Bioblitz.

Virtual Bioblitz meeting

After the summer break Wildlife Explorers gathered at The Salvation Army Hall on Roe Street for the first meeting of the new season. Starting off with a seasonal collage of fallen leaves decorated with an incredible range of creepy crawlies members soon got back into the swing of the indoor meetings. The theme for the session was measuring biodiversity in six virtual habitats. Leaders had prepared the following stations: – A wildflower meadow teeming with butterflies. – A bird ringing station with a selection of garden and woodland birds – A group of rockpools – only accessible using marine viewers … Click here for more information…..

Monday 17th June 2019:End of Year Party

Wildlife Explorers celebrated the end of another year of wildlife-packed meetings with a special end of year party. The party began with a special viewing of The RSPB’s latest birdsong single video which features some amazing hand shadow puppets. Then it was Explorers chance to turn their hands (literally) to a bit of shadow puppetry. There were some very talented attempts at some very complex shadow images. We played some of our favourite party games, Hot Waterbear, Grey and Red Squirrels, along with caterpillar races and Habitat relays. It was then time for lots of party food and some wonderfully … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 8th June 2019: Chester Zoo Expedition

Wildlife Explorers brought their season of outdoor meetings to a close with an ‘Evolution Expedition’ at Chester zoo. Joined by the intrepid sea captain , Robert Fitzroy of the HMS Beagle and renowned naturalist Charles Darwin, author of On the Origin of Species, a 40-strong group of explorers were excited to find out more about the incredible birds, animals and plants that are kept at the zoo as part of important conservation and breeding programmes. The expedition included Leader Kat who was celebrating her 21st Birthday and Explorer Matthew who was enjoying the trip on his 5th Birthday. After singing … Click here for more information…..

Monday 20th May 2019:Insects, Spiders & Myriapods – Life with Lots of Legs

The latest meeting of Wildlife Explorers focussed on minibeasts with lots of legs, from six-legged insects and eight legged arachnids (including spiders) through to the many-legged centipedes and millipedes. The meeting started with Explorers learning about the 30 Days Wild initiative from The Wildlife Trusts. Wildlife Explorers are supporting this project throughout June and are encouraging members and their families to take part in ‘random acts of wildness’ every day in June and report back about it. (Photos and a description of who, what, where and when [email protected] please). The craft for the day was making a incredible psychedelic spider … Click here for more information…..

Monday 13th May 2019: Little Eagles at Alderley Edge

Leaders Tina, Susan and Frankie headed to Alderley Edge to talk to Pre-School and Year one about garden birds. It was a fantastic sunny day and the sessions ran outside on the school field. Leaders showed pictures of common garden birds. (Whilst wild birds were flying across the field and between the trees). We were very impressed by the knowledge and identification skills of the children. Favourite birds included blackbird and blue tit. We then listened to some bird songs. We were even interrupted by real birds – song thrushes and wood pigeons were singing and jackdaws called as they … Click here for more information…..

Friday 3rd to Monday 6th May 2019: Weekend Away

  Leaders and families from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers travelled to Rutland Water for a weekend of birdwatching and natural history. The Rutland Water Nature Reserves are run by Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust in partnership with Anglian Water.   The whole of the first day was based at the Anglian Birdwatching Centre at Egleton.  A nature walk in the morning gave the group chance to see lots of different birds – migrant Chiffchaffs and willow warblers sang and blackcaps chattered in the trees. There were huge numbers of house martins and sand martins feeding low over the water of … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 28th April 2019: Dawn Chorus

Leaders and families from Wildlife Explorers set their alarms for very, very early in the morning as is now traditional at this time of year for the annual Dawn Chorus walk. Birds sing in the still early morning air to claim breeding territory and attract females in a wonderful cacophony of different songs – the morning of our walk was no exception. We started early enough for the first bird to be heard to be a tawny owl, probably on his way home to bed! Blackbirds, wrens and dunnocks sang against the background of wood pigeons and distant pheasants.  We … Click here for more information…..

Wednesday 10th April 2019: Tytherington Club Holiday Club

Leaders Dave, Jen, Tina and Will visited The Tytherington Club Holiday Club to talk about Homes for Wildlife and help children make bird boxes for use in the club grounds. The session began with everyone looking at a whole range of different manmade wildlife homes and working out which wild creatures they were designed for. The answers were deduced using the size of the animal and position of the home, from a hedgehog house to a barn owl box and from a butterfly shelter to bat box the solutions arrived at were all correct. Everyone then designed their own home … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 24th March 2019: Conservation Work – Macclesfield Forest

After a quick welcome from Ranger Martin Winder, a safety talk and instructions on how to safely complete the tasks for the day a large group of Wildlife Explorers headed to the Education Area. Armed with gardening gloves, a selection of tools and lots of enthusiasm families headed to the education area. As well as tidying up the tree shelters in the hedgerow and removing dead plants, saplings from the tree nursery were transplanted to the hedge, filling in spaces and extending the hedgerow. There was also plenty of bramble to clear and fallen branches were collected into piles for … Click here for more information…..

Monday 18th March 2019: Secrets of the Rainforest

The most recent indoor meeting for Wildlife Explorers focussed on Rainforests and the incredible variety of life these habitats support. The group learned about the work the RSPB does managing the Harapan Rainforest in Sumatra. We are losing rainforests across the world at an alarming rate and yet the Harapan Rainforest sees local communities coming together to restore and protect the area. The forest is home to incredible creatures from Sun Bears to Sumatran Tigers and Tapirs. After measuring and comparing their height against the height of various rainforest birds and animals Explorers got crafty and coloured cards depicting rainforest … Click here for more information…..

Tuesday 26th February 2019: Birdwatching Session at Puss Bank Nursery

Volunteers from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers visited the nursery at Puss Bank to talk about garden birds and do a spot of hands-on birdwatching in the school grounds. Before we headed outside on a short birdwatching walk, each group of children learned a little bit about some of our most common wild birds – we talked about their colours and what they sound like. We were also very careful to make sure that everyone understood the safety rules for using binoculars. The unseasonal warm and sunny February weather was perfect for birdwatching. Lots of birds were calling and we listened … Click here for more information…..

Wednesday 13th February 2019: King’s School Junior Division

One of our favourite School Birdwatches takes place each year at Victoria Park. Our morning birdwatching with students from the King’s School Junior Division was bright and sunny (if a bit on the cool side) and everyone was treated to a great selection of bird species. Three groups of children from Year 3 and Year 4 walked over to the park and used the bandstand as a perfect base for watching the birds. There was a huge enthusiasm as students got to grips with using binoculars to watch the blue tits and great tits high in the trees and count … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 10th February 2019: Signs of Wildlife Treasure Hunt – Poynton Coppice

Despite a soggy start to the day lots of Wildlife Explorer families gathered at Poynton Coppice for a ‘Signs of Wildlife’ Treasure Hunt. As well as brilliantly rhymed wildlife-themed clues (honestly!) – families had to complete a series of challenges on the way round the treasure trail including listing the birds we heard singing, determining the tree species on site from looking at their buds and identifying lichen. Family members of all ages took on searching out the clues and completing the challenges with great gusto. Admittedly there was one tiny glitch with the clues – Tina and Susan had … Click here for more information…..

Wednesday 6th February 2019: Ivy Bank Primary

Leaders visited Ivy Bank Primary School in Macclesfield for a rearranged Big School Birdwatch. The first date was cancelled due to snow and ice – luckily the weather was dry and mild for the new session. It was decided that we would run two sessions each with two full classes (sixty children in total). We started in the classroom with an introduction to the Top 10 garden birds, some background on the survey and its methodology plus some safety tips for using binoculars. Everyone was really surprised that such large groups of children were able to birdwatch outside so successfully. … Click here for more information…..

Tuesday 29th January 2019: Mottram St Andrew Primary Academy

Volunteers and young birdwatchers faced more wintry weather for the Big Schools Birdwatch at Mottram St. Andrew Primary Academy. After a smattering of overnight snow had turned to ice the ground was very slippery and the trainee ornithologists from the Reception and Nursery classes also had to contend with driving sleet. Despite conditions being far from ideal for a bit of birdwatching children had great fun using their binoculars. We listened out for robins, blackbirds and blue tits and we also heard crows and wood pigeons calling. As well as good views of jackdaws the children and adults were all … Click here for more information…..