30DaysWild: Wildlife Watch with Sussex Wildlife Trust
When we moved out-of-town a couple of years ago, before Noodle started school, we discovered Woodsmill: the HQ of Sussex Wildlife Trust and a stunning nature reserve with lovely woodland, a big lake, a perfect stream, big sumptuous meadows and the incredible wildlife that comes with all of this.
At the time we discovered Nature Tots, a fun workshop for kids under 5 to get involved with nature. Noodle loved it and so did I! Now that he’s at school we have discovered Wildlife Watch, which is aimed at children between 5 and 8. The sessions take place on a Saturday once a month for 6 months. I just had to sign him up; and after our first session recently, I can say we were not disappointed.
Our leader introduced himself as Bruno which Noodle found hilarious; and to my slight embarrassment he blurted out that our cat is called Bruno. We all had a good giggle when he also mentioned that Bruno, the cat, was ginger and white, to a man who is, you’ve guessed it, a redhead. I love Noodle 😀
The kids were captivated right from the start.
Bruno, the leader :), was extremely knowledgeable and fantastic with the kids. On our way to the meadows we stopped on several occasions with him pointing out the smallest creatures, explaining what the were, like ladybird larvae which doesn’t look anything like a ladybird! The kids were captivated right from the start.
Once we arrived at the meadow, the kids ran around with nets, encouraged to catch anything they could to then place in a white plastic tray to admire and identify. We caught so many creatures! We caught crickets and grasshoppers, and learned what the difference is. Did you know? Crickets tend to walk and have long antennae, grasshoppers have short antennae good for jumping as far as possible. We also caught shield bugs, caterpillars, a million of the tiniest crawlies and even butterflies!
Later we headed into the woods to make fire! We got handed our very own flint stone fire maker and learned how to make it spark. It was Noodle’s and my first time doing this and actually surprisingly easy. Bruno talked us through how to stay safe around a fire and how to make sure the fire stays contained. We then lit our very own piece of charcoal cloth which simply smouldered away without a flame. Bruno then collected all of these and lit the fire with them. He had showed us how lay different types of wood and eventually some hay on top, so that we could do it ourselves at our next session.
Once the fire got going, we made toast. We held our slices of bread over the fire, spread jam on top after and drank hot chocolate. Noodle loved it. We both did. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon! We can’t wait to come back for more.
I have noticed a real change in Noodle since we started our #30DaysWild challenge and even more so after this workshop. He has grown in confidence and is developing a great love and understanding for nature and the environment. He is not afraid to pick up a spider or any creature to help it off the pavement to safety. Long may it continue 🙂
If you’d like to find out more about Wildlife Watch or Nature Tots, visit the Sussex Wildlife Trust website.
*I have not been sponsored for this post in any way.