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Autumn well-being September 13, 2018- As daylight hours shorten it is fascinating to pay attention to the changes in the natural world around us and how our own bodies feel as we adjust to the rhythms of a new season. Walking in nature helps us … Continued
It’s easy-beezy to learn about and help bees! July 4, 2018- Bees are very special insects. They are fascinating to learn about and it is simple to do a few things to help bees in your local area. Did you know there are over 250 species of bee in the British … Continued
Nature’s Great Producers May 3, 2018- Just a few weeks ago our woodlands and hedgerows appeared barren but now there is an explosion of new life and colour. How does this happen? Dormant buds, which will become this year’s leaves and flowers, were grown last summer … Continued
Wanderings in nature January 24, 2018- With a new year stretching ahead of us, we naturally begin to think about and reflect upon past experiences and future hopes. A great way to do this is on the move in nature. Being ‘mindful’ in, and connecting to, … Continued
Stranger Things November 29, 2017- What are those strange lumps and bumps on the underside of some leaves and those odd-shaped growths on acorns that look like woody asteroids? These bizarre plant growths become more noticeable in the autumn amongst the piles of fallen leaves, … Continued
Wild Foods of the Forest – the good forager September 9, 2017-   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. … Continued
Fledgling birds April 28, 2017- Whilst many baby birds are only now eagerly poking their heads out of nests, some parent birds are already encouraging reluctant youngsters to leave the safety of the nest. Most of our common woodland and garden birds such as robins, … Continued
Welcome signs of spring March 1, 2017-   At this time of year the weather is often unpredictable with frost and flurries of snow, heavy rain and flooding mixed with warm, sunny days that reminds us that spring is almost here. Wildlife also reflect this ‘in-between-the-seasons’ character … Continued
A Woodland Invitation January 28, 2017- January is a quiet month after all the New Year festivities and in terms of wildlife it feels a bit bleak, with trees stripped bare of leaves and many animals in hibernation, the woods seem to be in a deep … Continued
Discover the New Forest – ‘We’re going on a cone hunt’ December 30, 2016- Cones make a beautiful addition to Christmas wreathes and decorations but often go unnoticed, hanging high in trees, out of reach until they fall to the ground.  Commonly called pine cones, there are in fact many kinds of cones that … Continued
Winter Trees November 27, 2016- The New Forest’s woodlands become different places in the winter. Leaves fall from deciduous trees, in a myriad of autumn colours, to reveal bare branches and twigs with pointy buds. Suddenly leafless, this is the best time to study the … Continued
Animal tracks and signs November 5, 2016- It’s been a wonderful season for wild food foraging. Harvesting reminds us that we are part of nature and the importance of taking only what you need. Many animals are also busy collecting and eating this bounty of autumn foods … Continued
Nature inspired autumn land art September 30, 2016- Autumn is my favourite time of the year to be outdoors exploring the New Forest; foraging for juicy blackberries, collecting fallen crab apples and enjoying the season’s changing colours. It’s also a wonderful time to create some amazing land art … Continued
Moth Mania August 31, 2016- Moths are fab – not drab! They are as brightly coloured and patterned as their day-flying relatives, and come in all shapes and sizes. With an amazing 2,500 different types of moths, compared to 58 different butterflies in the UK, … Continued
Focus on feathers July 28, 2016- Feathers are unique to birds. Strong, yet light and flexible, a single feather is a thing of great beauty. From July until late summer is a good time to look for feathers when adult birds are moulting: a process of … Continued
Close encounters with dragonflies June 29, 2016- Did you know the New Forest is one of the best places in the UK to spot a dragonfly?  Of the 36 species which exist in this county, an amazing 74% of them can be found here. June and early … Continued
A Walk in the Wild May 29, 2016- Join in with The Wildlife Trusts #30DaysWild and challenge yourself to do something wild every day this June. Here are some of my favourite ‘rewilding’ experiences to help you explore and reconnect with the wild places of the New Forest. … Continued
Hedgehog Hogitats April 30, 2016- Hedgehogs are one of our most iconic British mammals and the worrying decline in numbers could mean that these snuffling spiny hogs might become a rare sight in the future. The plight of our hedgehogs and how people can help … Continued
Minibeasts and bughunting March 30, 2016- Learning to observe and record wildlife is vital for understanding the natural world and conservation. Wildlife is all around us so it’s important to focus, to start with, on one group of animals or plants, and on a local patch … Continued
Marvellous mud art February 28, 2016- Mud, mud glorious mud! Most people see mud as something to avoid, but it offers lots of creative potential for the outdoor learning practitioner: it’s free, easy to use, safe to handle and can be found pretty much anywhere. So, … Continued
Drawing from nature – nature journals January 29, 2016- Creating a nature journal or field guide can be a richly rewarding experience. It is the perfect way to develop and record an understanding of the natural world around you by using observation, reflection, drawing and creative writing.  Traditionally, nature … Continued
Drawing from Nature December 22, 2015- The personal benefits we can draw from nature are huge. I find nature itself an endless source of joy and inspiration for my teaching but more importantly in my life itself. Recently whilst quietly observing and sketching a robin that … Continued
Surviving the winter – as snug as a bug November 26, 2015- With temperatures dropping and winter now upon us it’s important to think about how animals cope in the winter and how we can help provide over-wintering habitats. No matter how big or small your school grounds or back garden, you … Continued
The weird and wonderful world of fungi October 28, 2015- Mushrooms and toadstools are fascinating. Neither plant nor animal, they belong in their own kingdom, the ‘Kingdom of Fungi’ and form a largely invisible world hidden under your feet. It’s the strange fruiting bodies of the fungi that you notice, … Continued
Brambles and blackberries September 28, 2015- Blackberries must be one of our favourite and most commonly gathered wild food. Easy to recognise, children quickly learn how to identify blackberry fruits and eagerly help gather this annual feast. Foraging for wild foods is a wonderful activity which … Continued
Purple Haze September 6, 2015- Returning home last week after a long summer break, I was instantly struck by the vast purple haze of the rolling New Forest heathlands. In August the normally muted brown heaths are transformed by the flowering heathers to a landscape … Continued
Reconnecting with nature July 22, 2015- A great way to truly experience and understand the natural world is to slow down, take a break from our busy lives and reconnect with nature. We often look but don’t see – we forget how to listen to nature … Continued
Top tips for pond dips June 24, 2015- Pond dipping is a fantastic activity but often concerns about safety and a lack of knowledge about pond life identification skills deter people from giving it a go. However by following a few simple tips and guidelines you can safely … Continued
Snakes and adders May 20, 2015- Snakes have often been historically described as ‘cold-blooded, venomous and evil’. Today however many people are fascinated by these intriguing creatures and a sighting of one of our native reptiles, which are in fact secretive and shy, can be very … Continued
Remembering a journey April 26, 2015- ‘the most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between’ Everyone, especially children, love collecting mementos: special treasures that capture a moment and a memory. I’m always finding acorns, small stones and picked … Continued
Surviving the seasons in stages March 23, 2015- March is the first month that many of us will spot the colourful flutter of butterfly wings heralding that spring has finally sprung. But their reappearance begs the question – where have they been all winter? Butterflies are insects and … Continued
Focus on ivy February 21, 2015- At this time of year when deciduous trees and shrubs are only just beginning to bud, the glossy evergreen leaves of ivy and its tangle of climbing stems really stand out. Common ivy in fact provides a year-round place for … Continued
Feathered friends January 20, 2015- January can be a wet and uninviting month to explore the outdoors but fortunately it’s great for birdwatching as the cold weather brings birds into gardens, looking for food and shelter.  Most birds will be sporting winter plumage, making each … Continued
Holy Holly! December 18, 2014- Holly is well known and loved for its spiky evergreen leaves and bright red berries, and as a symbol of Christmas. In homage to the twelve days of Christmas, here’s twelve fascinating holly facts and activities that you can use … Continued
The Underground Farmers November 20, 2014- Earthworms, as their name suggests, live within the earth in a hidden world but where they perform an essential service by not only turning over, aerating and loosening soil, but also by recycling dead things! Autumn is a great time … Continued
The web weavers October 23, 2014- Nature has many beautiful designs and amongst these the intricate beauty of a spider web glistening with dew in the early morning sun is a visual masterpiece. Late summer and early autumn is the best time to admire and study … Continued
Picture of child holding up winged seeds Ingenious seeds, inquisitive minds September 13, 2014- As the summer ends, many plants are preparing for the next generation and launching their offspring into the world. September is a great month to explore and investigate your school grounds and local wild space for different seed dispersal strategies. … Continued
Summer song of the crickets August 12, 2014- It is a popular myth that a cricket chirps by rubbing its legs together. In fact, crickets sing with their wings and listen with their legs! During the summer they are an easy insect to find in school grounds in … Continued
Ladybird secrets July 18, 2014- Nature is full of fascinating surprises, as I found out recently when investigating the ladybird life cycle with a group of reception school children. We were very intrigued to discover that the ladybird emerged from its pupa completely yellow with … Continued
Encounters with a seven-spotted friend July 6, 2014-   Different stages of the ladybird life cycle For anyone working with children the word ‘minibeast’ needs no explaining – the world of invertebrate animals such as snails, woodlouse and centipedes holds a limitless fascination for children, and adults too! … Continued