Tag Archives: childhood

One Day Wild Summer Event

OneWildDay Poster

Join us for a great day of wild activities at Duart Castle. See more information on the event page or contact Rachel on either 07540792650 or rachelannfrench92@gmail.com

Booking is essential and spaces will be limited so don’t leave it too late.

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Day 23: Den building 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 23

On Thursday the Ulva Primary School children vacated the premises for the polling station and visited Lochdonhead Primary School for the day. These primary schools are under a joint head teacher and have great links, giving the children chances to make friends outside of their own small number.

At Lochdon school, the children have access to a brilliant patch of woodland within easy walking distance which gives amazing outdoor learning opportunities (at Ulva Primary we use a local beach as an outdoor learning area). We made the most of the schools being together and spent the morning working on teamwork skills in the woodland school.

The walk into the forest area is great for wildlife too, with flower-filled road verges boasting orchids, daisies, dandelions and birds-foot trefoil. The kids also spotted a slow-worm on the track and knowing it posed no threat they were excited to see the reptile. We talked about why it was a lizard and not a snake, nor even a worm and chatted about the differences between male and female before leaving it in peace to find cover.

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A slow-worm – I took this a wee while back! 

The children were split into mixed school teams and were tasked to build a den. Outdoor education like this really gives the kids a chance to develop life skills and highlights areas that need more support. Confidence, communication, risk management and compromising were all required and some fared better than others, but on reflection all the children could discuss areas to improve and what worked well. This outdoor activity also encourages creativity and free thinking – brilliant skills which lead to creative futures in the real world. Plus, being out in nature has numerous health benefits!

WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

 

Day 22: Home grown 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 22

We spent some time in the garden at school on the afternoon making sure everything was growing as it should be! We repotted the tomatoes which are doing brilliant well. This time outdoors for children is really valuable and gives a great understanding of where food comes from. Growing your own food is extremely rewarding and children appreciate it even more.

I’m growing chillies at home at the moment and I noticed the first chilli coming through this morning! I was super excited and I’m looking forward to using it in my cooking. Everyone can grow something, no matter the limited space you have and it’s definitely worth it, you can’t beat the taste and freshness of home grown too – home grown salad leaves cannot be bettered!

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WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

Day 16: Wild Child flower ID 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 16 

Today at school we spent the afternoon completing another Wildlife Action Award activity. We went out in the rain to snap photos of the wildflowers in the school garden to later ID. We found lots around the edges of the garden (the areas the council aren’t so against) and checked some flowers out up close with hand lenses. We found foxgloves, self-heal, red campion, tutsan, cuckoo flower, stickyjacks, daisies, bramble, flag iris and more. The children looked up information and the gaelic names for the species before drawing and labelling some of their favourites. We chatted about Charles Darwin and ensured our curiosity was up to his standards whilst enjoying the sound of lapwing and skylark overhead. It’s important that children appreciate our native wildflowers and learn some of their names, after many common species names were removed from the English dictionary!

WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

 

 

Day 10: Letter to MP & wild gifts 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild

Day 10

Yesterday at school I worked with the children on their Wildlife Action Awards through the RSPB. We’re now aiming for our gold level award, having already received our bronze and silver for completing a 12 different wildlife related activities including making bird boxes, beach cleaning, creating a bug hotel and pond dipping. One of our chosen activities for the gold level was writing to our local MP about an issue in our local area.

We brainstormed and the children came up with some brilliant, insightful ideas with regard to improving things for local wildlife on the island. They were angry that people drove so fast, killing lots of our wildlife and were unhappy about the levels of litter on and around the island. On a national scale, they also mentioned the continued persecution of beavers in Perthshire, they couldn’t understand why we’d bring them back to allow them to be shot on a regular basis. Despite not having any squirrel species native on Mull, the children are well aware of the threat grey squirrels pose to our British reds and mentioned this too. This level of awareness, despite living on an isolated island is amazing.

We finally decided to write about the litter in our local seas and suggest ways to improve the situation. The children did an amazing beach clean in May this year, collecting well over 50 bags of litter, but this doesn’t fix the real problem. The children want to install signage advising people to “Bag it, bin it and keep our oceans clean”. These would be in busy areas around pontoons and ferry terminals, or busy beaches. They also suggest more recycling bins onsite and they’d love reverse vending machines, to encourage people to recycle plastic bottles and pick up other people’s litter. They have sent the letter to Mr Brendan O’Hara (SNP) and Mr John Finnie (Green party).

Plus, yesterday for my birthday I received some lovely wild gifts including ammonite fossil earrings and a book on ravens which I’m very excited to read – “Mind of the Raven, investigations and adventures with wolf birds” by Bernd Heinrich. This year I was privilege to watch a raven nest site, situated on a secluded sea cliff. The pair raised four youngsters and they all fledged successfully. They are incredibly interesting birds and I’m sure this book will make them all the more interesting.

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WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

Day 9: Feeling the wild 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 9 

We have a patch of garden that isn’t managed or mown and the flowers are looking great right now. The daisies and buttercups are everywhere, proving brilliant food for insects and birds. They also look stunning – much nicer than a tightly mown green lawn! It feels great under bare feet too, bringing back lovely childhood memories of barefoot days.

 

WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

Day 8: Wild School Gardening 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 8 

At Ulva Primary we spent the afternoon in out in the school grounds, preparing some planters for our vegetables and flowers. The children have grown tomatoes, courgettes, leeks and some flowers from seed this year and they’re all ready to be relocated in the garden. Whilst clearing the planters the kids found plenty of wildlife and aren’t afraid to touch and feel, often bringing me the creature to identify, before safely returning it to the wild.

One planter is no longer accessible to us – ants have moved in. What look to be yellow meadow ants have created their colony in the pot. We happily left them in peace and moved on. The children also found butterfly caterpillars and enjoyed watching a race between two garden snails. All the while our blue tit parents whizzed in and out of their nest box and the swallows overhead chattered.

We also found a moth pupa and are keeping a close eye on it to see which species emerges. The pupa itself had us all engrossed as it wriggled in defence. Hopefully, the moth emerges in the next few weeks before the schools are on holiday, so soon for Scottish children!

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Moth pupa – species ID welcome! 

Wild Child Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

Day 7: Mini wilderness 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 7 

We’re lucky in the Hebrides to have a fantastic array of lichens and mosses, thanks to our interesting climate and lack of air pollution. Our native Atlantic woodlands are temperate rain forests; they’re very green and full of life but you do need to look closely. I love my little hand lens – it opens up a whole new forest of species that we overlook daily.

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Invest in a hand lens – they can be less then £10. Magnifying something by x30 or x40 makes an incredible difference, it can transport adults and children alike into a completely different world. Plus, lichens are fascinating – they’ve lived for an astounding length of time. Even more jaw dropping; lichen isn’t just one organism – it’s built up from algae or bacteria AND fungus, they live and work together symbiotically. So much going on in a tiny space.

WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

Day 4: Sundew and Snails 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 4 

Today I joined Ewan of Nature Scotland on a wildlife and photography workshop, along with a lovely family and we had a brilliant day on the isle. I really enjoy macro photography and immersed myself among the smaller species we find – you can never fail to find something interesting once you start looking closely.

I have a soft spot for creatures with shells, including limpets, hermit crabs and snails. Unfortunately for me, we don’t seem to see the number of garden snails I did as a kid but I was in my element today at Aros Castle – snails everywhere! They’re a great animal to connect with; every child should feel the movement of a snail on their hand and feel thrilled when it sneaks out its stalked eyes.

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Admiring a garden snail 

We should also be amazed at our incredible plant life. Did you know we have our very own carnivorous plant species? The thought conjures images of tropical rain forests but go no further! Behold, the stunning detail and evolution we can see in round-leaved sundew. This tiny bog loving plant is covered in attractive sticky glues and acids – any enticed insect won’t be leaving any time soon. These extra meals supplement the plant’s nutrients, added help when growing in nutrient poor areas.

We don’t just have the one carnivorous species though. Butterwort is another species found in boggy habitats, often right next to sundew. This insectivorous plant secretes a sticky fluid, attracting and snaring insects into it’s leaves.

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Round-leaved sundew – with a meal
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Butterwort in flower – with numerous meals captured 

WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

Day 1: Wild Reading 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 1 

The nature gods are blessing the Isle of Mull with incredible weather at the moment so every chance we get throughout the workday we’re outside, soaking up the blue skies and sunshine rays. Today, instead of heading straight home and getting irate at our busy seasonal roads, I took a wild break to read and enjoy the stunning place I call home.

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My drive to work is amazing, with the very scenic Loch na Keal making up around 7 miles of the 19 mile journey. I pulled off the road to read my current natural history book out in the fresh air, surrounded by bird song and sparkling water.

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I also wandered in bare feet over the warm, volcanic rocky shore line and cooled my feet in the crystal clear seawater. Numerous small crabs scuttled near my bare toes and I marvelled at the colours of the periwinkles. From the photo you wouldn’t even know I was in the water!

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WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)