Randalls Farm Centenary Day
Thursday 31st May 2012
Pond dipping - part of the engaging activities
The Wildlife Trust BCN at Randalls Farm Environmental Education Centre and Nature Reserve in Stewartby celebrated 100 years of the Wildlife Trusts movement alongside some of the local communities’ biggest wildlife fans.
So why were we celebrating? Charles Rothschild (1877-1923), banker, insect expert and pioneer of nature conservation, set up the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves in 1912. This helped towards the creation of Wildlife Trusts partnership. Rothschild amassed the largest collection of fleas in existence, travelled around the world twice before he was 26 and, most impressively, fought for whole wildlife habitats to be looked after for wildlife to flourish in! Something to really celebrate.
Randalls Farm makes up one of the 128 nature reserves across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, and is a fabulous place for the local community and schools to enjoy. At the Big Birthday Extravaganza on Sunday 20 May, 80 children and adults went on a history inspired trail around the reserve navigating their way through wildlife homes to first come across pond dipping in one of the best ponds in Bedfordshire to find out what lurked beneath. Water beetles, swimming stickle backs, sucking leeches and giant pond snails were all found, as well as a sighting of the very rare water vole and great crested newt!
Next up on the activity trail was the mini beast station teaming with ‘Spring Watch’ standard wildlife, from long snouted weevils to crab spiders. Oblivious to all the activity were some very proud blue tit parents that have taken up residence in one of our nest boxes, busy feed their young.
To finish the activity trail with a bang, the 80 local community attendees had a go at dissecting owl puke! Using scientific tools adults and children prized apart pellets produced from some of our local owls. They found skulls of field voles and tails of wood mice amongst other gory things.
“Owl pellet dissection is a really valuable method to find out what owls have been eating and informs us about the local population of small mammals, and at our next event on 9 June we are looking forward to hearing some of our local owls as the evening will be all about wildlife that goes bump in the night,” says Ruth Sneath Education and Community Officer.
A regular event attendee, nine-year-old Samantha Cobbins loves all things wild:
“I love coming out with my family as we all enjoy having fun together outdoors, I am now becoming a new member of Wildlife Watch club at Randalls Farm so that I can do more outdoors fun stuff.”
To book your place on our Childrens Wildlife Club and our Creatures of the Night event on 9 June call 01234 768542 or email Randallsfarm@wildlifebcn.org