by Wilderness Ranger, Rachel Richards
December and January have been very busy and exciting months working with families, children and young people at Low Barns. Our monthly toddler group, Muddy Wellies, kicked off in December with muddy but sunny puddle splashing fun. The toddlers start the session topping up bird feeders to help feed the birds then we set off round the reserve to see what they can discover. At least an hour of this session is outdoors, so not your typical village hall toddler group, here the outdoors is our classroom. Sessions end with a short indoor craft, though in warmer months we may just stay outside, who wouldn’t?
Wildlife Watch, our monthly group for 5-10 year olds has been running for many years now and continues to be very popular but now runs all-year-round, not just during term time. In January the group met at RSPB Saltholme where Matt Barnes from the Marine Conservation Society led a fantastic talk on seals. We then drove up the road to watch over 30 seals hauled up* at Greatham Creek, what a treat!
Our new Nature Rangers Group (for 10-13 year olds) spent the afternoon birding around Saltholme where they recorded 40 bird species! Nature Rangers will meet monthly on Saturday afternoons carrying out a mixture of practical conservation tasks and species survey work. We have lots of exciting ideas for this group.
Last but not least I’ve been busy planning sessions and contacting young people who wish to join our Young Rangers group (for 14-18 year olds) which kicks off in March. This group is ideal for young people who wish to volunteer for their Duke of Edinburgh award, who enjoy the outdoors and don’t mind getting their hands dirty as they help with practical conservation tasks on a nature reserve.
During the school week we also run a monthly home education group. In December we learnt all about the birds that make their homes at Low Barns and in January we set off mammal tracking around the site.
The weather has been (mostly) fantastic this December and January and the changing colours and early signs of spring have made it a real pleasure to be spending time outside with kids and families.
For adults I run a monthly Wildlife and Wellbeing Group which began this January. It was one of the warmest days for what feels like months as the 12 of us stood in silence by the river, sun on our faces and the river gurgled soothingly beside us. Not a bad way to start a week!
For more information of regular and one of events and to book your tickets click here.
* Hauling-out is a behaviour associated with pinnipeds (true seals, sea lions, fur seals and walruses) temporarily leaving the water.