Our activity this month is a free bushcraft skills workshop for 12-18 years old in Fontmell Down, a nature reserve in North Dorset owned by the National Trust.
This activity will be in collaboration with the local charity Seeds 4 Success, as part of their Leisure Credits programme (for more information, visit https://www.seeds4success.org.uk/leisure-credits). The activity will last between 11 am and 3 pm, and attendants are expected to carry a packed lunch and refreshments. The site (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fontmell-and-melbury-downs/features/fontmell-down-forest-school) has toilets and we will be the first organisation to make use of the site! There may be an opportunity to get some attendants there on a minibus but there is a car park on the access to the site where parents can drop off and pick up.
If you would like to attend please email Rose Salmi-Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org), who will be your bushcraft instructor on the day, and copy me in your email. We will require a consent form to be signed prior to attending.
Our parent society had also planned an excursion to the Hawk Conservancy for June, and the entry free for children is covered by the society. However, this is now fully booked. If you are not yet a member, this is the sort of thing you are missing!
Something for free, if you’re 16-25, that is. The Field Studies Council, keen to encourage young people to go outside and see what’s around them, is offering free copies of their really useful wildlife guides if you’re in this age range or working with young people in the age range. To apply, follow this link to reach the page of the FSC website.
But do it today: the offer closes on 10 June.
On a sunny day at the beginning of May, two excited groups of children accompanied by parents were given the rare permission by the Teffont Fishing Club to walk along the river bank to look for signs of the protected Water Vole (Ratty in Wind in the Willows).
We are lucky too have a good population here as the species has declined by 90% countrywide.
My group started at Stubbles and walked downstream and under the railway bridge where they found Otter footprints in the mud. There were many burrows along the bank we were on, some with ‘lawns’ of nibbled grass round them. We could see many large burrows on the opposite banks.
After much searching we found some footprints down by the water and a few pieces of reeds eaten in a typical way at a 45 degree angle at each end. We also found a few distinctive cigar shaped droppings.
We did not see any voles but they are most definitely there and they are shy and we were not very quiet!
Inés took her group along the river from Catherine’s Ford and counted approximately a burrow per every meter along a 170 metre stretch.
The children had a wonderful time and Inés sent the records off to the Mammal Society. (Debbie Carter)
Izzy Fry has also written a lovely account with some great photos, on her blog here. It looks like having been a lot of fun and fascinating as well.
I wish I'd been able to be there!
Lots of events in the April members' newsletter , including the opportunity at 6pm on April 2nd, this Friday, to hear and learn about he night sky in a “Space Travel online experience” with Steve Tonkin who has the grand title (it could come straight from Star Wars) of Dark Sky Advisor to the Cranborne Chase AONB.
Truth to tell, Steve has a life-long passion for astronomy that alerted him to the effects of light pollution, and works to consolidate and strengthen the standing of Cranborne Chase as an International Dark Sky Reserve.
This is a Young Nature Watch event, but all our members are welcome (and non-members, too, if you pay a visitor fee) – just email email@example.com
Some of you may have already seen the announcement on Facebook, that at the invitation of Gareth Harris, Ines wrote a piece for the Wiltshire Mammal Group newsletter, which can be read here
You'll find the article on page 9 - if you get there, because there are lots of lovely articles in the newsletter on your way there. Ines writes about the YNW Harvest Mouse Nest Survey and the Owl Pellet day.
You can view and download this year's programme of activities here.
- and don't we need those!
YNH celebrates the first day of Spring on Sunday, 21 March by getting down to earth with a Toad Patrol on Swallowcliffe Down.
I love my toads! Very much welcome in my garden, seeing off slugs both great and small as in this photo. I realised why that excellent dish Toad in the Hole was so named, when I found one hunkered down in his hole at the base of a rose.
For details of that event and all the rest up to February 2022! the full programme is here. Don't forget that adults are also very welcome, although numbers can be limited and Young Nature Watchers will therefore have priority. But contact Ines on firstname.lastname@example.org - nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Have a great year!
January is famously catch-up time for sins of omission the previous year and I can only apologise and indeed regret, that I didn't publish these lovely photos that were entered for the photography competition in November.
Above are Izzy's winning photo on the left, and Shona's runner-up on the right. Below are two more entries, from Reuben on the left, and Lydia on the right.
I don't envy the judges their task, I think they're all lovely!
We wish you a happy new year and we would like to invite you to our first activity this year, which will be a partly guided, partly self-guided, twig ID competition during the second half of the month. Please note that you can participate in different ways and you can attend only some of the numbered steps below if you wish so.
#1. Training session: Online (Zoom), Saturday 16th January 10-10.30 am. We will teach you how to identify key tree or shrub species in winter. We will have a handout to complement the session and for those who are interested but cannot make it. We will set up a challenge for you to complete for #2.
#2. Self-guided twig hunt: With the help of the resources we will provide you with, you are welcome to undertake a twig hunt at a location of your choice (remember, if you are going out of your garden, this needs to be part of your daily time out for exercise) anytime between the 16th and the 31st of January (before #3).
#3. ID verification session: Once you have collected your twigs for the challenge, join us on another online (Zoom) session on the 31st Sunday 4-5 pm to have your twigs verified. We will select a winner for the competition.
If you are interested in this, please email email@example.com so that Ines can send you the relevant information, and don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions.
Our Owl Pellet Dissection workshop on 13 December was a great success - go to our Facebook page for more details and photos of that.
Page header design by Izzy Fry.
You can view and download the full programme of this year's activities here.
Young TNHS is for under-21s and membership is free. To join and to register for events, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
21 and over Membership is £10 p.a. for adults or £2 per event for guests. To join, email email@example.com.