Author: Rachael Murray

 

Unless you have been living under a rock, you won’t have failed to have noticed the electronic phenomenon that is Pokémon GO. The premise, in case you have been cave dwelling, is that you move about your local neighbourhood eyes firmly fixed on your mobile phone, searching for virtual monsters going by names like Spearow, Beedrill and Sandshrew. The make believe beasts that feel at home in water can be found near lakes and rivers, those that enjoy tree life are likely to be loitering in your local wood and the beach lovers, well, on the coast of course.

 

The game will no doubt have been developed by the kind of geniuses that devise Google’s infinitely complex algorithms and keep online shoppers hooked on virtual purchasing, so we can’t be blamed if we are completely and utterly addicted. Looking on the bright side, the great thing about this game is that whilst it keeps our nation transfixed on their screens, it does, at the very least, get them outdoors!

 

However, a world full of fantastical wild creatures, with funny names, in their chosen habitats sounds strangely like actual nature doesn’t it?

 


 

Here at the RSPB we’d like to harness this innate enthusiasm for searching for strange beasts and will be offering a natural alternative to Pokémon GO in Norwich this summer.

 

Head to a park near you and you can join the RSPB’s Emily Harvey for wildlife activities that will enchant youngsters without the need for any kind of augmented reality. We’ll be encouraging your little monsters to get their hands dirty searching for real life wild creatures as we take them mini-beasting and challenge them to a natural scavenger hunt.  

 

Have you ever seen a baby harlequin ladybird? Found in gardens and parks across the UK, their black and bright orange spiked robotic exterior could rival any pocket monster. And for special powers, well, the everyday spider spins web about five times as strong as high-grade steel to catch its prey, and did you know that ants can smell in stereo? In my view, that makes mini-beasting just as thrilling as Nintendo’s new masterpiece, and no Poké Balls required!

 

Emily will be revealing the secret world of wildlife in the heart of the city and it’s all for free! Funded by Aldi in partnership with the RSPB, forget catching Pokémon, Emily’s sole aim is to help the children of Norwich catch the wildlife bug!

 

Screens are here to stay, it would be naive to assume otherwise, but I firmly believe there is room in our lives for Pokémon and real life monsters, and if we encourage enjoyment of both, we could have an army of budding naturalists who, as well as doing battle with virtual beasts, are also ready to fight for our real wildlife.

 

Project Officer, Emily Harvey, will be encouraging families to uncover the wildlife secrets of the City at the following locations: 

 

August:

 

1              St Clements Park, NCC Neighbourhood Play Days

3              Whitlingham Country Park Wild Wednesday

6              Eaton Park

7              Wensum Park

9              Jenny Lind Park, NCC Neighbourhood Play Days

10           Whitlingham Country Park Wild Wednesday

12           Eaton Park

15           Sewell Park, NCC Neighbourhood Play Days

 

For more information, visit www.rspb.org.uk/wildparks 

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