North Chilterns Community Engagement

Centres of Activity

North Chilterns Chalk Community Engagement

NCC Team at Whitefield Primary

School Assemblies

Why not book a free assembly in your school to meet the team and some of the unique wildlife characters. Our assemblies are tailored to the age of the children and are interactive.

 

Educational Programs

We have two exciting outreach programs that we can bring into your school.

North Chilterns Chalk Educational Programme 

The curriculum linked programs aim to develop an understanding of the place where we live and the wildlife on our doorstep through:

  • Helping to inspire pupils’ curiosity and fascination in their local environment
  • Developing geographical skills with the use of a map
  • Developing scientific skills in identification and classification of plants and animals
  • Developing scientific vocabulary
  • Exploring living things in their habitat
  • Providing exciting examples of life cycles, food chains and the work of scientists
  • Using speaking and listening skills in discussions and storytelling.
  • Providing “hands on” interactive programs with professional resources.

 

The Tiny Creatures of the Big Hills for Key Stage 1 & 2

Program content 

Introduction - Where we live. A giant illustrated map is unrolled of the North Chiltern Chalk Living Landscape showing Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis, man-made features such as roads and railways, natural features such as rivers and chalk grassland nature reserves. Children are introduced to the Chiltern Hills, highlighting the number of people living in this landscape.  The children locate their school on the map and the Wildlife Trust BCN nature reserves to show we are all part of this living landscape. The discussion around the map will be tailored to each key stage.

Plant Patrol and Bug Hunt  - We then take the children on a search for wildlife in the school grounds. Children are provided with equipment and identification guides to investigate habitats for different plants and minibeasts. This is followed by discussion and feedback about the plants and creatures found in school grounds. Then children are introduced to some of the amazing characters of Wildlife Trust BCN nature reserves – the “tiny creatures of the big hills” such as the marbled white butterfly, stag beetle and bee orchid. The children put models of the chalk grassland characters onto the map.

Interactive Storytelling - Each Key Stage will be given a more detailed story behind one of the characters

  • Year 1 & 2 Chalkhill Blue Butterfly – a familiar but unusual life cycle
  • Year 3 & 4 Glow Worm – predator and prey, food chains in action
  • Year 5 & 6 Duke of Burgundy Butterfly - the science behind the story

This looks perfect; the details and content and links are all exciting, varied and have the local theme I was after. I would definitely book you. Please make us first on your list!” Year 6 teacher, Dunstable

Hiding in the Hills – Fossils under your Feet -  for Key Stage 2

Program content

Introduction – What is chalk?   - Children are given an introduction to chalk, the rock that makes the local landscape. What is it? How was is formed?

Time travel back to the Cretaceous -With the help of a time traveller’s clock, imagination and a tape measure to represent time, children travel back to the Cretaceous Era to explore a habitat from the past. Children are introduced to creatures that lived millions of years ago and discover who ate who.

Find out about Fossils - Children learn how fossils provide clues to past habitats and handle a collection of real fossils from the chalk before making their own clay model.

The Chalk Hills today - The program concludes with a look at the habitat of the chalk hills today

“I enjoyed the fossil workshop as I learnt loads of new things I had no idea about, like 100 million years ago Bedfordshire was under water!”  Year 6 pupil

Follow up at the end of both programs - At the end of the sessions teachers will be given suggested follow up activities and information to pass onto children on how to find out more about wildlife.

 

Forest Schools

Specialised, play-based programmes that hand over learning to children while being facilitated by a trained leader. As a result they thrive from the real life experiences that occur in the stimulating outdoors. Forest school sessions can be delivered in your school grounds.

Benefits: It has been shown to benefit all children with the following key areas of learning:

  • Experimentation, mistakes, repetition and improvements.
  • Risk management.
  • Improved speaking, listening and vocabulary.
  • Physical mobility and agility.
  • Increased self-confidence and awareness of the needs of others.
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of the natural world.
  • Learn knots, weaving, tool use, fire lighting and working with wood, plants and soil.
  • Problem solving and collaboration.
  • Increased focus and interest in learning.

For more details on Forest Schools please contact sarah.cowling@wildlifebcn.org 

Professional Development for Teachers & Youth Workers.

We offer inset days and twilight courses specifically at your site, to train staff to feel confident in the use the outdoors to deliver the curriculum creatively, identify wildlife on your site, and demonstrate simple activities to make the best use of it, or improve it for the benefits of learning and wildlife.

Please contact us directly to discuss your requirements so we can create a bespoke course to suite your needs.

Community Group Visits

If you have a cubs, brownies, scouts or guide group or run a youth group, why not have one of our team deliver a fun, interactive activity session? Indoor and outdoor workshops are available.

Activities we can offer;

  • Owl pellet dissection.
  • Mini breast hunts on your local nature reserve Blows Downs, Totternhoe or Pegsdon.
  • Habitat investigation on school/community grounds.
  • Practical conservation, bushcraft and exploratory skills (inspired by Forest Schools).

Youth Rangers groups for Secondary-aged Young People

These meetings are great for young people who want to meet new friends, socialise, learn new skills, build their confidence and do something really positive for the environment. Equipment is provided, guidance and support is given throughout. There is no need for previous experience. Activities vary but include scrub clearing for grassland, fencing for livestock and species surveying.

Bedfordshire

Flit Vale Youth Rangers meet at various locations in the Ampthill area. They get together on one Sunday morning each month. For more information please contact Watch leader Nigel Pollard, on nigel@vernewood.co.uk

Chilterns Chalk Youth Rangers meet at various locations near Luton and Dunstable. They get together in the school holidays. For more information, contact the team on 01525 874317 or toddington@wildlifebcn.org

Volunteer Walking Wardens

These volunteers provide a brilliant force for good on Blows Downs and Totternhoe Nature Reserves. They act as the eyes and ears of the Nature Reserves and help them to be better places for people to visit. 

To be inspired and find out a little bit more please see our blog.

Read our blog 

Contact us

Tel: 01525 874317      Email: sarah.cowling@wildlifebcn.org

The Wildlife Trust BCN, Unit 2, Griffin Farm, Conger Lane, Toddington, Befordshire, LU5 6BT

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The North Chilterns are an area of chalk hills in Bedfordshire. The western escarpment of the North Chilterns is steep and has never been suitable for farming, so many pockets of grassland, scrub and woodland remain. Some of the traditional wildflower meadows in these hills have been managed the same way for centuries, creating wonderful habitats for wildflowers, invertebrates and larger animals. They are the grassland equivalent of ancient woodlands. It is such a unique Living Landscape for all to explore and learn about.

As well as creative and interactive education programmes that we can deliver in your own school we can also offer evening or school holiday activities for scouts, brownies and other youth groups We deliver regular talks on the unique wildlife and history of the area and guided walks and tours of North Chiltern's Chalk Living Landscape. We also host a range of adult workshops including wildlife identification days, dog training and creative writing amongst others and we hold lots of fun events for families. 

“Children particularly enjoyed the tactical resources that they were able to handle and examine; as well as the chance to create their own clay fossils. Most children left with a good understanding of what fossils are.” Year 3 teacher, Dunstable