All New Animal Workshops for Paultons Park in 2018


Launching February, Little Africa is the Park’s own little corner of Africa. Discover amazing animals and birds of the savannah. From Meerkats to Porcupines; Lizards to Polecats there are animals in all shapes and sizes to delight and entertain.

Continue reading All New Animal Workshops for Paultons Park in 2018

Blashford Bird Trail 2017

Last weekend saw the Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve host the annual Bird Trail organised by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust with Hampshire Ornithological Society for groups of children and young people – the sun shone and the birds flew! To be kept up to date with details and how to enter a team in next years Bird Trail event (Wildlife, Uniformed, Youth and School groups all welcome!) e-mail Jim Day at the Blashford Lakes Education Centre –

Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve

Well I told Tracy I’d blog the Bird Trail and as she told everyone in her last post that I would be I suppose I really should!

The Bird Trail is a joint event run by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust with the Hampshire Ornithological Society with the express intent of engaging groups of children and young people in wildlife and, of course, in bird watching in particular.

The 2017 Bird Trail was another great success and it would not have been so without the support of many people and organisations: first off I will thank all of the Hampshire Ornithological Society and HIWWT volunteers who helped out on the day and ensured that it was the great success it was! Volunteers led on a multitude of tasks from photographing the event, to supervising the road crossings or administering the group registration and totaling up the bird lists…

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Wild Foods of the Forest – the good forager

           Good foraging reminds us we are part of nature

Autumn is my favourite season of the year; I enjoy the changing colours of the woodlands, dewy spider webs and especially the ‘wild food’ treasures hung brightly within hedgerows. ‘Blackberrying’ is often one of our first experiences of nature. Even toddlers quickly learn how to identify blackberry fruits!

Foraging for wild foods is a wonderful activity for getting outdoors in all weathers to learn about and connect with nature. It increases our observational and sensory skills and deepens our relationship to the natural world. Continue reading Wild Foods of the Forest – the good forager

Autumn already?

School term is looming, as are harvest assemblies, conker battles and fungi forays. The sudden arrival of school term makes you wonder why we expect a clear and definite line between summer and autumn, winter and spring. What curious questions could students ask about the mysterious science of phenology? Continue reading Autumn already?

An adventurous couple of days…

We get up to all sorts at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trusts Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve – it is a fantastic site for “habitat studies”, “minibeasting”, river studies, pond dipping etc. so we are busy with school visits, uniformed group visits, guided walks and family activities throughout the year, but our “Wild Days Out” school holiday activity days do allow us to experiment a little with new ideas and activities. Think this one takes the biscuit though!

Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog (here) that included a brief description of my initial foray into the Dockens Water in preparation for our Wild days Out “Stream Snorkel Safari” and all of my reservations having braved the icy water… this week saw us leading 41 intrepid children aged 5-12 (not all at the same time!) into the Dockens Water to do just that and I am so glad that we did… it was brilliant!

The older children went first on Wednesday. Wednesday, you may remember, was grey, gloomy and COLD! Following the unusually glorious Bank Holiday weekend and highs of 29°C,  Wednesday saw the temperature plummet to a high of 14°C and a weather forecast dominated by heavy rain and jumping into the river was the last thing I really wanted to do!

Did it put us off? Well yes, of course it did!

Did it…

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An unexpected encounter with some fascinating wildlife

Working from the unique location of Calshot Activities Centre, and taking many different groups into the New Forest, it is sometimes easy for us to forget all the stunning wildlife that surrounds us.

Whilst on duty looking after our residential school groups it is not uncommon to be woken by the call of oystercatchers as they strut around wading along Calshot beach, or drive down the spit road and catch a little egret silently stalking and waiting for prey.

However, I was recently reminded that these wildlife spots were not to be taken for granted by staff and students visiting earlier this summer from Portsmouth to complete A-Level Biology fieldwork. Continue reading An unexpected encounter with some fascinating wildlife

Weekend wanderings – part 2!

Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve

As promised earlier in the week, here’s what happened on day two of our Young Naturalists New Forest residential.

On Sunday morning we started bright and early, meeting Home Farm’s Education Officer Steve Barnard for an animal feed session. Steve took us on a tour of the farm, letting the group help out with some of the feeding tasks, collecting eggs and generally having the opportunity to ooh and ahh or gobble at every animal they came across…it was a definite highlight of the weekend!

We particularly enjoyed watching Lysander feed the ducks, which he had to get to via some sheep…he did a brilliant job…

After our fun feed session we thanked Steve for his time and went to meet Paul and Mandy Manning from Amews Falconry for an incredibly informative falconry demonstration. We began in the garden room with Paul introducing us to four different birds, an American…

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A blog for school teachers, educators and group leaders, written by activity and learning providers in and around the New Forest National Park, Hampshire

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