Evergreen love of nature
Kate Titford from the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust encourages children in West Berkshire to get closer to nature
I grew up surrounded and inspired by nature. Every weekend I explored my local countryside, gathering feathers, seed cases and other natural treasures.
I imagined the busy lives of wild creatures living among the tangled tree roots, inspired by stories from Brambly Hedge. My nature book was one of my most treasured possessions.
Those experiences sparked my passion for nature and started me on the journey to what I do now, working for the local Wildlife Trust.
BBOWT runs sessions for children of all ages at the Nature Discovery Centre in Thatcham, helping them to fall in love with the natural world too.
We offer children lots of different ways to explore, discover and experience nature – from making mud pies and pictures with leaves and twigs, to pond-dipping to discover amazing creepy crawlies, and learning how to identify small mammals from their skeletons.
Fall in love with nature from childhood Picture: Elaine Tuffery
I believe it’s so important to experience wildlife as a child, not just once but repeatedly, from tiny tots to teenagers.
Nature Tots sessions give pre-school children their first taste of the wild with games, crafts and stories every month. For children aged 18 months to five years. There might be wildlife watching, mud kitchens and singing to enjoy. Each session is different – all with a wild theme.
As children get older the Nature Explorers Club is perfect for five-to-eight-year-olds. On the third Saturday of every month children get hands-on with wildlife activities, craft, stories and child-led play. Be prepared to get muddy and be outside whatever the weather.
Introduce children to nature Picture: Ric Mells
Young Rangers Club is for older children, aged eight to 12. We’ve had some wonderful wildlife experiences such as the flock of more than 30 goldfinches, which joined us with their beautiful tinkling above our heads. There’ll be plenty of chances to get muddy and try out basic bushcraft skills at this club.
Young people aged between 12 and 16 can join in the Teen Rangers Club. This is a great chance to get experience of looking after our local wild spaces and learning the skills to be a real wildlife warrior.
The focus is on bushcraft skills, practical conservation and wildlife surveys.
By joining Teen Rangers young people can gain skills in using tools to complete valuable habitat management work to help wildlife, meet other young people who are interested in wildlife and learn from experienced conservationists.
BBOWT’s environmental education is based around a head, hearts and hands approach.
By experiencing nature and wildlife, children will grow up to appreciate the natural world and become tomorrow’s wildlife champions.
There are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Whatever your age, come along and join your local Wildlife Trust for some outdoor fun. For more information visit www.bbowt.org.uk