Today I am on strike. As a teacher my career path is being eroded by the conservative government. George Osbourne froze the spending per child in schools meaning in real terms we have taken a cut with inflation. Their push to make all schools academies has been well publicised. The continual push to make the public sector fail to allow for privatisation. They are pushing to allow unqualified teachers replace teachers. I know who I would rather have teach my child. All of there proposals will further lead to further inequality in society. The poor will end up with a poorer quality of education. Not that the conservatives will care with their children already in private schools, but I believe in education for all. I work in a inner city council estate. The new push to link exam results will put people off working in these areas where you are likely to see lower results. The parents I work for are a lovely bunch, but they don’t have the same money as leafy suburban parents in terms of providing opportunities for their kids. The children get to see more of the world through school opportunities. The cuts will reduce how much can be done. I have known many of the children I teach from birth and want them to have the same opportunities in life as my own daughter. Under Nicky Morgan that won’t happen. As such I am on strike.
Normally I have marched on strike days, but with a 7 week old colicky baby I am adding what support I can from home. I have added my name to relevant petitions, emailed my MP and I’m adding to blogs. The press does not generally get behind teachers, so we need as much positive press as we can get. Many people are questioning why strike now? The government and press is caught up in Brexit fever. But it is for this reason pressure needs to be put on the government to push education to the fore. With leadership battles going on in both key parties I want to see promises of better education secured. It is time for unions to be strong while the government are weak.
For now I will continue to take solace from our ineffectual government by continuing to enjoy nature. Alice and myself enjoyed watching the secret life of birds with Iolo Williams this morning on netflix. Alice seemed to like the curlews.
Then some reading I can dip in and out of with her naps.
Spent the last few days playing around with the pl@nt net app. The plant net app works by you taking a photo then it compares with its database to see what matches. It then brings up a list of what organ you have photographed: leaf, flower, fruit, bark, other. So far just tried flowers and leaves. It seems more confident on flowers than leaves. The app was developed in France and designed with wildlfowers in mind rather than ornamental flowers from the product description. Although so far I’ve found it better with garden flowers than wild flowers.
After playing around for a few days it currently doesn’t seem that great at identifying unless you already have a vague idea of what it is already. However the app is reliant on contributions from users. So in theory it should get better as it is used more, so I will persist to see if it improves over time.
Here are a few of my submissions.
It knew the rose campion.
It identified the fuchsia, but it gave quite a few suggestions before the fuchsia came up. I thought this would be an easy one with the distinctive shape and contrasting shades of pink and purple, but it wasn’t the first suggestion.
It wasn’t sure of this, but neither am I.
The poppy it identified as the first result.
The woodland trust have created a tree id app which I would like to try. However it is only currently available for apple devices. It is due out for android later in the Summer.
One of my favourite apps from the last month is sadly defunct. The Great British Bee app is now inactive. I did however manage what I reckon has been my most detailed bee photo yet.
Well the day after the official end of the 30 days of wild sees me reflecting on the month and the year ahead. Obviously for most people who are involved in nature this is a life long obsession, for all the year, not just a month. For those who are enjoying nature note from this month hopefully they will continue. But for me my social media and blog level will undoubtedly drop from the more intense daily posts. I have loved being part of the Facebook group. My wall has been flooded with beautiful and amazing photos all month. This was a welcome distraction from the news this month. There have been some wonderful heart warming stories of people re-engaging with nature, people tackling depression with exploring nature more, people sharing their super activities with their children. This simple idea from the Wildlife Trust offers so much for so little. While I have bought some new seed, bird food and a trail cam. Most of the positive experiences from 30 days cost nothing, just taking the time to look and appreciate what is there already. So thank you Wildlife Trust.
Looking to the future I have lots of ideas for next year for when Alice is a year old and can start having more involvement with the 30 days.
I am continuing to develop my knowledge of the outside world with a free course on soil.
Within my job as a teacher it has made me consider what I want to teach my class. I’ve always placed a high focus on outdoor play, but I want to take this further over the next year. I was put through quite a few forest school training courses when I first qualified, but haven’t used these skills enough, so need to rectify that.
Post EU referendum there are many environmental issues that will need to be addressed ad EU regulations are dropped. So I pledge to continue efforts to keep this world full of natural beauty so my daughter gets to experience it herself.
Looking back on the month I think my highlight has to be watching the foxes. Watching these animals has given me endless joy. I move house next month to Hornsea, a little town on the North East coast. So the next year will see more of exploring coastal nature. I’m also closer to Bempton Cliffs and Flamborough Head, so next year will aim for puffin photos.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
In 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.
Tomorrow will post what I have taken from 30 days wild.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In a bit closer…….
…make a dash for it….
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.