Day 30-this is the end, my only friend, the end

I finished Chris Packham fingers in the sparkle jar on audiobook. Thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about his life. Chris Packham ran a photo competition to win a copy of the book. I think the prize went to a worthy winner. https://www.instagram.com/p/BFwOAsBDiXY/

I’ve moved on to The shepherds life by James Rebanks for my car audiobook. So far heard about the difference between Wordswoth impressions of the life of a shepherd and the actuality.

“Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your Teacher.”

Wordsworth

 

Today I showed off the spiders I found yesterday to the class. The class expressed a mixture of fascination and mock fear. A couple of the kids have set any spare minute in the class watching with their noses up close to the tub. I released them back in the garden when I returned home.

We had a bit of excitement as we realised one of our meal worms had entered the pupa stage. Over the next few weeks it will blacken into it’s adult form as the shell hardens.

IMG_20160630_074632IMG_20160630_074650

The trail cam had a quiet day. Just the robin returning. I was hoping for a spectacular finish to the month capturing something amazing, but wasn’t to be. The robin is a nice little chappy.

IMAG0003.JPG

On the way home from school I popped into the local cemetery, usually a good spot for wildlife. The cemetery is beautifully kept. There were some rather glorious crows fulfilling their role as symbols of death.

_DSC0013_DSC0015_CSC0022In a quiet corner of the cemetery there was a decent fairy ring.  A suitable mark for a graveyard. The fairies dancing their dances in the liminal spaces between this world and the next.

_DSC0026_DSC0025

Tomorrow will post what I have taken from 30 days wild.

Day 29-sadly almost over

Today was scheduled as a very wet day and as my school field becomes a marsh I left off setting up the trail cam. While I don’t mind the rain I’m ok with sinking into mud in work trousers. I did manage to get my class out for a game of go find it at break before the heavens opened. For those who don’t know go find it, it’s a lovely little game put out by the sensory trust involving a set of cards. Each card has a word: bumpy, round, orange, thin. The players then have to find something matching the word as quick as they can. It is a bit pricey for a set of cards you could make yourself, but the kids do love it. They often ask for it to be brought out at breaktime to a point where they have set items they’ll go for when certain cards come out.

dscn0072_1024x1024

We started reading an abridged version of the wind in the willows to continue with national badger week. We left it with toad sat, in the middle of the road, staring after the motor car murmuring “poop poop”. The kids seem taken by the story which is always nice.

On the way home from work got a glimpse of the river and foxgloves growing wild out of the edge of a carpark.

_DSC0007

At home I did some late night hunting to find a decent spider specimen to show my class tomorrow. They’ve been hunting spiders on a dinner, but only small spiders survive a school full of children. So I wanted to bring a larger spider to examine.

IMG_20160629_210731IMG_20160629_211032

Day 28-success of the trail cam!

This morning I set up the trail cam at the back of the school field in the wooded area. At lunchtime I went to collect it in. The camera wasn’t quite positioned ideally as a number of animals seem to of crept up close, so only half was captured. But I was happy to see this little chappy trundling past.

Then a little later in the morning this young lady popped her head in to have a look.

I was quite happy to capture the hedgehog, even if I didn’t get a clear shot. But I still wanted the to get a good sight of the foxes. So I set it up for the afternoon.

The first visitor did have a streak of red, but not a fox.

But then later in the day I got what I was waiting on.

Day 27-Foxes

Well I set the trap cam up hidden in my school wooded area and managed to capture one of the foxes again. Not as good as Fridays attempts, but they excite the kids when they saw them. Most are a bit blurry, whereas the photos I lost on Friday were clearer, so will keep trying for better.

To begin spot the fox.

IMAG0139

Still watching.

IMAG0141

In a bit closer…….

IMAG0142

…make a dash for it….

IMAG0144

…..IMAG0145

IMAG0148

IMAG0149

Will try to continue to try to get a better clear shot.

 

Today is also national badger week, so in the spirit of the event I read my class the disgusting sandwich.

A suitably gross story about a hungry badger.

Day 26-spare a thought for nature

Currently I have held off on making an comments on the EU referendum. Like many of you I was disappointed by the decision to leave. I don’t want my baby girl coming into a world full of uncertainty, disunity and it seems hatred towards our fellow man. The decision, I feel is short sighted and in many cases made as a result of false promises and misinformation. While part of me would like David Lammy’s call for MP’s to ignore the referendum and vote for the good of the country. Or for the petition for a second referendum to be successful, seeing as the result was so close and it has already been revealed Farage is back pedalling on putting £350 million into the NHS. An issue many people based their decision on. But this is not how democracy works. The vote was taken and the decision made. Should parliament decide to ignore or over turn the results for a second referendum it would weaken belief in the democratic process. So the referendum will need to be lived with.

A guardian article on the subject of leave and the environment.

The decision to leave leaves great uncertainty for the environment. The RSPB, wildlife trust and PTES had all come out in support of remain. Many area of natural significance are currently protected by EU laws. Wildlife friendly farming has been pushed by the EU. Many animal rights rules come from the EU. Many of these were not perfect, but they will need to be rewritten with us leaving. Now is a time for unity within conservation groups, not just within the UK, but internationally. With all the work needing doing drafting trade agreements, movement, migration, immigration, the worry is environmental issues will be low on the agenda.

Now is a time to take action. Join wildlife groups, write letters to MP’s, emails, petition the government. Make sure the good conservation work done within the EU isn’t undone.

Below are a number of environmental issues you can support quickly through the links below:

A number of leading leave campaigners believe in fox hunting with dogs. They may use the opportunity created by people being distracted by the EU news to repeal the ban. Don’t let this happen. We hold our nose up at other cultures who all bear baiting, cock fighting. Why would we allow something so barbaric with so little purpose to come back.

The RSPCA provide a letter format to lobby your local MP.

Keeptheban.org.uk

1510080133379941

Keep bee harming pesticides out of our fields.

A friends of the earth campaign to stop harmful pesticides being used which threaten bees, and from there many other species.

Give the hedgehog better protection.

The wildlife trust-protect our marine conservation zone

The UK government have designated areas of sea as protected areas. While these rules have been flouted regularly if an effort isn’t made the oceans, we may rely on in future, will be depleted.

The peoples trust for endangered species

There are opportunities to help through surveys or action.

Stop the badger culls.

badger

 

Day 25-trail cam in action

After losing my fox photos yesterday I wanted to spend some time getting used to setting up aiming the trail cam, so I set it up through the day in the garden to catch photos if the birds in my garden.

The first catch came from the ever greedy starlings.

Not a bad start, but the light settings weren’t quite right and the camera wasn’t quite positioned right.

I tried it on the grass, but placed the camera a bit close to the meal worms I’d left to entice them in, so it needed re-angling.

I put the camera to the side while I did my gardening. I found a little friend had an attraction to the mower.

IMG_20160625_114730

IMG_20160625_114801

One of my neighbours had been clearing the jungle of wildflowers at the back of his house leading to a mass snail exodus.

IMG_20160625_115951

A busy bee and a wealth of worms

I then reset the trap cam and took Alice for a walk around the block. There were some beautiful looking gardens currently and the bees and other pollinators were out in force.

Back at home the tram cam had captured a few more birds.

IMAG0003IMAG0005

I decided to try the grass again, this time using a feeder to aim at.

One of the fat pigeons photo bombing the starling.

IMAG0024

My favourite the inquisitve sparrow interested in what’s going on behind him.

IMAG0028

Day 24-trail cam

Well today started off with bad messages over tv, social media that the UK is leaving the EU. I was rather saddened that so many people in my country are being so short sighted. But try to concentrate in the widlife with slugs greeting me outside the front door on the way to the car.

IMG_20160624_060529

At work I set up my new trail camera in the wooded area at the back of the school field. I captured some super fox photos. The fox coming up to pose infront of the camera. However when I returned home a formatting error meant I lost them all leaving me rather deflated. I will try again next week and try to capture some of the birds in the garden over the weekend.

aldi_wildlife_camera2

At the start of the day my class set up some food supplies for various animals to see what we could entice out. We left some jam out, some cucumber, and some biscuit crumbs. When we returned at lunch the ants had swarmed on the jam as hoped. The cucumber had attracted snails and the birds had come to the grass. The kids were delighted running back and forth between jam spots to see the ants progress.

I’ll finish today with an RSPB song. On a day where unity, strength together has failed I think it’s worth considering our international conservation efforts. Please click the link, donate if you feel the need.

Day 23-survey time

Today I had put aside the afternoon to teach my class about bees, their importance, identify several types and a look at bee anatomy. I had also planned in time for us to go outside and take part in the great British Bee Survey for Friends of the Earth as a class. I had previously scouted the field to see what types we were likely to see. I covered the identification of the white tail, honey bee, early bumble bee and wasp. Richard Louv talks about how identifying specific species is good for children in his book last child in the woods. Strangely looking at the different types did seem to be therapeutic for the children. Taking part in a survey will gain the children another point towards their RSPB wildlife action awards.

fdd91452fe7b998b46c6039979fee5af
illustration by Catherine Pape

 

 

Armed with clipboards and identification sheets we set out onto the school field ready to tally our sights. We took out a bin bag and the litter picker grabbing stick to help clear the field. We had read about how rubbish kills small mammals and they were keen to stop that happening. The children quickly tuned into looking at the tails as they realised we were mainly finding white tails and early bumble bees. On the whole they were pretty good at spotting an tallying fairly accurately (with the exception of one boy who thought everything was a wasp).

Returning to the classroom we looked at identifying the parts of the bee. They are rapidly developing super insect knowledge and more of them are using it when we’re out. They are gradually using more of the scientific language of habitat, prey, predators, herbivores, carnivores, thorax, abdomen, which is reassuring that some teaching is going in.

 

IMG_20160623_182942IMG_20160622_180023

We also found a super looking beetle. Flew off before I got a decent photo.

IMG_20160623_165637

And a nice looking wildflower.

IMG_20160622_175920

Day 22-wildflowers

Today we carried on our class National Insect Work writing about what we saw on our mini-beast hunt. Some super writing was produced with high levels of engagement from all. The kids are picking up the names of species new to them. There getting more used to where to look. When we first went out to look for snails they were a bit stand offish, not knowing what to do. Now there getting stuck in looking under leaves on plants, lifting stones, digging in the dirt. Things kids should know how to do already by the age of 5 and 6. They still show a preference for snails, but are keen on the hunt for beetles with our class pet.

I took another group put at dinner to develop their photography skills. This group mainly showed a fondness for wildflowers and mushrooms. So today was predominantly out of focus daisies, but they’re enjoying exploring the school fields edges which are normally off limits to them.

DSCF3982

The children have been very excited to see our coconut bird feeders are going down. We haven’t seen any birds on them, as 23 noisy children is enough to scare off most birds. But they can see it’s going down.

DSCF3949

We spent the afternoon sat out in the sun for sports day. Too hot for them, lots of tears when they didn’t win, but done and out of the way. A number of frogs for found in the grass where the kids were sat.

DSCF3956

A pretty good day for wild exploration.