Children looking for a new way to explore wildlife and have fun this Autumn can now become true nature nuts – with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s new Wildlife Watch Awards.
The Hedgehog, Kestrel and Nature Ranger awards aim to nurture the next generation of naturalists by offering a way for children to explore and study nature, whether in an urban or rural setting.
Activities will help transform children into bug hunters and bird detectives, getting them outside into gardens, parks, and nature reserves where they can find out about their local wildlife.
Awards are earned on completion of a number of challenges, including activities such as:
Making a mini nature reserve
Marking and recapturing garden snails
Making a bat box
Helping birds avoid flying into windows
With a multitude of wildlife experiences to be had in Autumn alone - from watching migrating birds or roaring stags, spotting colourful fungi or collecting fruits and nuts – online and outdoor activities and challenges completed will be rewarded with stickers, loyalty cards, certiﬁcates and badges.
Chris Packham, passionate conservationist and The Wildlife Trusts’ Vice President, said: “As a child and teenager I travelled a regular route to a young naturalist’s paradise. It led to all sorts of birds’ nests to Grass snakes, Fox earths and Badger setts. It led in simple terms to the reality of being a naturalist. It taught me the truths of my trade and I fell in love with them.
“Enjoying nature at a young age and coming to value it really can bring a lifetime of pleasure. But, as most good naturalists are hooked by the time they are nine years old, I truly hope these awards help to put the spark that sees the beauty of life in many a young heart.”
Naturalist Nick Baker, also a Vice-President of The Wildlife Trusts, said: “How do we get young people to turn off their computers, shut down their virtual worlds and go outside, get dirty and smell the mulch? We don’t! Wildlife Watch embraces technology and uses it as a spring board to the real world outside. It’s a virtual scrapbook, a digital wildlife club, and a place to exchange information, ask questions and record wildlife you’ve seen! I’m kind of jealous I didn’t have this sort of thing when I was 10!”