Secondary School Wildlife club

Hi. I'm due to start a new job at a secondary school, running after school clubs from Monday to Thursday. One of the clubs that I want to run is a wildlife conservatiob club. Does anyone know of any appropriate indoot activities I can do with them? The students will be aged between 11 and 16 years.

So far I have got,

  • Making bird feedings
  • Making a bee house
  • Making hedgehog warning posters in the run up to bonfire night. 
  • Doing citizen science camera trap projects on laptops. 

(The reason why I am saying indoor activities is because the club is based in the library and I don't think we're allowed to leave to do activites outside) 

Thanks,

Danni

  • Not being involved with the education profession, I'm probably the worst person to reply, my background was youth work back in the 80's and Scouting up to around ten years ago. However, I don't believe in giving in, and certainly not without trying at the very least.

    A quick internet search using "rspb secondary school indoor activities" did bring up: "Big Schools' Birdwatch", on the following link

    https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-teachers/schools-birdwatch/resources/

    I don't know what restrictions are imposed on taking young people outside, even just within the school grounds, so long as the supervising adult/teacher, has the appropriate skills, first aid qualifications and instant communication with whoever inside the school buildings.

    If it was me, then I'd be tempted to see if working within the guidelines provided, was able to take the young people out to a nominated place within the school grounds, where they can properly experience nature.

    I would put together a program, risk asses it, provide an emergency plan that if you needed to be contacted, or need to contact someone for assistance, and then put a proposal to the head teacher. Even better if you can get two or three other fellow colleagues on board to give that bit of outdoor support.

    When I first took on a scout group, in the first couple of months I was continually getting road blocks, even though I'd risk assessed the activities in accordance with the Scout Association guidelines at the time plus the better than the basic qualifications and skills to safely carry out the activities, plus support from a couple of leaders and adult helpers to ensure all was safe.

    I persevered, and eventually I managed to get the full backing, and the added bonus, as courses came up to better my skills, the scout group happily paid for them and I had scouts getting the full benefit of indoor and outdoor activities.

    Three of them are now leaders undertaking similar activities, in full confidence.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • In reply to Mike B:

    Thanks. It's not so much a case of me not being qualified to take them outside. I also work as a teaching assistant at the same school and have all the skills\experience and certifications etc to do outdoor stuff. I have to remain in the library because there may well be other students using the facilities who are not partaking in the club. Big schools birdwatching is definitely something I'll look into though.

    Thanks
  • In reply to Danni F:

    Danni F said:
    Thanks. It's not so much a case of me not being qualified to take them outside. I also work as a teaching assistant at the same school and have all the skills\experience and certifications etc to do outdoor stuff. I have to remain in the library because there may well be other students using the facilities who are not partaking in the club. Big schools birdwatching is definitely something I'll look into though.



    Thanks

    Understood.

    Probably a starting point is: "Big Schools' Birdwatch", though I'm sure there will be other resources. Also have a look at the local Wild Life Trust, and other organisations, they may be able to help.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • I noted it'll be indoors. A timely idea, but something to do with water would be an option. Designing a wildlife pond or smaller?
    One thing I wanted to highlight is 'sharp edges'. You will probably be aware of the issue anyway, esp working with children, but many 'homemade bird feeder' designs include sharp edges (reusing plastic bottles for example), which as well as being not good for childrens' hands, also isn't good for birds.
  • In reply to Robbo:

    The wildlife pond is a brilliant idea, thank you so much. Fortunately, the bird feeders we'll be making don't use plastic or anything else that could be potentially harmful. 

  • Good luck with this Danni. I think it is a brilliant idea. We really do need to encourage youngsters to take an interest in nature and conservation after all they will have to clear up the mess we seem to make at the moment. A friend of ours ran adult birdwatching classes very successfully part indoors and part outside. Even though Chris and myself have been birders for a long time we went along to quite a few sessions as you never stop learning. In some of the indoor sessions we spent quite a lot of time on different approaches to id using slides as well as books and sound. Fieldcraft was also discussed a lot. There were a lot of complete novices in some groups who knew no more than the youngsters you will be teaching. From our experience with the two eldest grandsons,11 and almost 8 yrs old they certainly grasp things pretty quickly. It would be good to hear feedback when you have had a few sessions as our club is hoping to restart work with local schools

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • In reply to Seaman:

    Thank you. I'll let you know how I get on
  • In reply to Danni F:

    Danni F said:
    Thank you. I'll let you know how I get on

    Please do, you never know, it may help someone else in the future as well.

    We wish you every success.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler