Adventures in Nature
We regularly meet badgers in children’s stories, usually as the wise old elder, (e.g. Wind in the Willows, Fanastic Mr Fox), or occasionally as a savage and cunning baddie (e.g. The Tale of Mr Tod, Watership Down), but either way, if there is an anthropomorphic tale set in a woodland, Mr Brock Badger will be there. Adopted as the symbol of the Wildlife Trusts and blamed for the spread of bovine TB, they seem equally loved and loathed and stand in the middle of the battleground of our attitudes towards nature. (more…)
Growing up hares seemed much more common a sight, hiding in the long grass or boxing in the fields. These days I rarely see them, but when I do they delight and transfix me, like the one last summer that appeared when I was lost down a country lane and lolloped along in front for several minutes, as if to guide me in the right direction.
For my Wild Encounters blog I researched where I might see some brown hares, and discovered that the Peak district has its own colony of mountain hares, whose coats turn Artic white in winter. Unlike brown hares, which arrived with the Romans, mountain hares are native to the UK, but only naturally in Scotland. They arrived in England probably thanks to introduction by landowners interested in increasing the variety of game to hunt. As with much wildlife, mountain hares are at risk due to habitat destruction and illegal hunting, but in the Peak District, the RSPB conservation work is helping the population of mountain hares to recover. (more…)
For my 2017 blog I want to seek out encounters with with some of the UK’s native animals and birds. Despite working outside in some beautiful Yorkshire woodlands, we rarely see much wildlife beyond birds, grey squirrels and the occasional startled deer. The time of day and the noise of children enjoying forest school has a lot to do with that. But significantly our chances of coming face to face with the wild are dwindling as many man-made factors such as development, pollution and climate change are causing nature to disappear at a disturbing rate. (more…)
The humble bare stick, plentiful and coming in all shapes and sizes, is the building block of many winter making activities. We’ve spent this month at forest school collecting, carving and crafting them into simple decorations to celebrate the season. While many beautiful Christmas craft projects are so intricate they are only possible in the comfort and warmth of your own home, all the ideas below are tried and tested simple ideas to make outdoors. (more…)
It is a little known fact that November marks the opening of the Wild Soup hunting season. These shy non-native creatures can be found hiding in our woodlands and tracking them down can be a fun sport during our autumn forest school sessions or family walks. At this time of year their distinctive winter plumage stands out amongst the muted colours of the forest, so the canny creatures will seek shelter in nooks and crannies of rocks and thick brambles to attempt to stay away from hunters’ eyes. (more…)