Friday, June 5, 2009

Cooper's Hill Nature Reserve, Ampthill

One of the things I enjoy doing most is opening the eyes and ears of young people to the natural world around them. That's why I've so enjoyed taking part in Alameda School's Activity Week today, taking one Year 7 class after another - 4 in total - on walks around Cooper's Hill Nature Reserve. The focus was 'ornithology', and we spent time listening to various birds that were calling and singing: robin, wren, chaffinch, blackbird, goldcrest, carrion crow, rook, jackdaw, willow warbler, garden warbler, wood pigeon, great spotted woodpecker and the like. But we looked out for other animals, too:

Although one girl ran off horrified, the sight of a dead pygmy shrew resulted in a lot of excitement...

But nothing like as much as the live common toad that I found under a rotting stump...

And, not wanting to be outdone, a common frog obliged, too!

Several of the children told me that they found the walk "awesome"...and a young lad who'd been on the walk earlier told his friend as he set off, "It's great!" So some, at least, seemed to genuinely enjoy it, which is what it's all about!

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