Flitvale Wildlife Watch Re-launch

Flitvale Wildlife Watch Re-launch

Photo credit: Brian Eversham - Flitwick Moor 

Wild Learning Officer, Megan Owen, tells us about the exciting re-launch of the Flitvale Wildlife Watch group.

Throughout the last year and during multiple lockdowns, we have had to put many of our family events on hold. Now things are returning to a slightly more normal world, we are in the middle of a jam-packed summer, welcoming back all our supporters to events, with many new faces joining us too, which is brilliant to see!

A popular programme that we have had to pause during the pandemic is our Wildlife Watch groups. Wildlife Watch is leading wildlife club for families and offers opportunities for children and their families to take part in an array of different wildlife-based activities in and around their local area, with many coming back regularly to see what we will have in store next. Wildlife Watch is based at primary aged children, and during the pandemic, a lot of our members had turned 12! Therefore, we thought it was time to find some new members and get everything up and running again.

In early July I was joined by Nigel, our long-standing Watch volunteer, and Sarah, Wildlife and Communities Officer, as we welcomed back Flitvale Wildlife Watch with open arms for a fun-filled re-launch event at Cooper’s Hill nature reserve in Ampthill, to help encourage new faces to discover all about our Watch groups. We were pleased to see a great turnout, with many families coming to explore their local reserve with us, to learn a bit more about the wildlife that calls the site home.

Cooper’s Hill is a wonderful reserve, covered with areas of rare and endangered open heath, which is home to many creatures including the magnificent tiger beetle and common lizards. Our families firstly went off with Nigel, who took them on an exciting exploration of the minibeast world, to see what insects were hiding in the heath. Armed with bug pots and sweep nets, our explorers were able to find an abundance of creatures such as woodlice, centipedes, and even a stag beetle taking shelter under a log! Nigel provided us with all his fun facts about minibeasts, including that woodlice always have 14 legs- fascinating!

After the minibeasts were returned to their homes, it was time for Sarah to take our explorers on a story-telling trail around the reserve. Our families were able to hear about all the creatures that live in the heath and how our work on the reserve helps them thrive. With Sarah’s wonderful stories, I knew this was an entertaining walk as the children ran back with excitement to me to tell me all about the animals they had learned about. Taking inspiration from these new discoveries, I then helped them make some clay sculptures to remember their time with us, encouraging them to choose their favourite creature and turn it into a sculpture to take home with them. They made beautiful butterflies and lizards that entirely outshone my clay tiger beetle- I think I need to work on my clay sculpting skills!

It was great to see so many children (and their adults too!) enjoying the activities we had in store for them. Over the past year, we have seen how important connecting with nature can be to all of us, with many turning to our green spaces for solace during a stressful time. Many have found new interests and passions within our wildlife, and it was a pleasure to greet new faces to our first event back. We are currently planning the next Flitvale session, which should be in late September/October, so please keep an eye out on our website for updates if you would like to join us for some more adventures.

There are many different Watch groups being run across the county, and I am also excited to be getting our Leighton-Linslade (previously Stockgrove) group going once more. Our first date back for this is the evening of  29th September, with meetings occurring every last Wednesday of the month. If you’d like to join us in September for a welcome back walk, please see our website to book your place now. I hope to see you there!