shall I build my nest?
are often noisy - and my three are no different. They also love
wildlife - including birds. To harness their enthusiasm and ensure
that they learn something while they run about and make a noise
outside, we decided to get them involved in an active wildlife club
in which the children could meet others, have fun - and learn. With
an environmentally friendly farm on our own doorstep, we started
up our own Suffolk Wildlife Trust Watch group - and within two years
of starting we now have 67 members aged 5-13 years old.
Our Watch group
meets once a month to do fun things linked to learning about, and
helping, wildlife. This month's tempting activity is 'Mating calls
and babies - where shall I build my nest?' and through games and
role-play will involve finding a mate, planning and building a 'nest'
in a suitable site. A recent event was 'Staying alive - birds in
winter' in which we made different types of bird feeders, wrote
to each other in bird foot-print codes and played a running about
game finding 'winter survival cards' (food, shelter, warmth and
friends) and avoided the predators.
bonkers' in a local nature reserve, home-made 'Bird bingo' and 'Bird
memory game', 'Kestrel capers' and 'Clues from poos' are all events
that have helped children of all ages to really understand, identify
and enjoy birds. My children are still noisy. However, there is
no doubt that by starting them off young and happily in pursuit
of birds, they soon quiet down when they spot a ghostly barn owl
quarter over the meadow, see the kestrel hover, or discover a partridge
sitting on eggs at the field edge.
For more information
on membership of Wildlife Watch, and a local group, see the Wildlife
Trust's website www.wildlifewatch.org.uk
- Home-made bird bingo helps children identify birds from lots of
different angles. Simply cut out lots of bird pictures from bird
food brochures and old magazines and paste them onto cards. (Photo:
Bottom left - Cracking bird foot-print
codes to work out secret messages - a fun way to learn bird foot-prints!
(Photo: R Guyver)
Hawkins is a farm conservation consultant involved in conservation
projects on her family-owned