Blogger: Rachel Frain, Fundraising Administrator

Recently I was lucky enough to spend the day outdoors in beautiful surroundings with a really cool bunch of five year olds.  I say I was lucky because my day-to-day job is as an administrator at the RSPB.  This usually sees me office bound, stuck behind a desk dealing with lots of paperwork and looking at lots of figures.   As important as this is, I love being outdoors! 

This was a special day for me and it seems the children had a fantastic day too.  They were on a school trip to our Strumpshaw Fen nature reserve to study first-hand the wonders of nature.  The children arrived bright and early to a slightly soggy Strumpshaw but this did not dampen their enthusiasm or the fun they had throughout the day. We made a wish list of all the wildlife we wanted to see, it ranged from birds to grasshoppers, snakes to kangaroos!

The day began with a woodland walk where we used our senses to listen out for creatures that live in and around the trees. We heard birds singing and insect buzzing all around us.  We strolled along the Meadow Trail and looked carefully for some of the special plants, amphibians and insects that inhabit the boggy land.  The children made rainbows from some of the leaves, seeds and petals they found and swept the long meadow grasses with nets to collect some of the insects so we could have a closer look at the mini beasts that are so often all around us but not seen. The pond dipping was an exciting way to discover what lurks beneath the water, to see some of the creatures we know well like damselflies, in their larval state and some we rarely see such as the great diving beetle: a voracious predator of insects, tadpoles and small fish. 


It was amazing to see the children being hands on.  Discovering the world around them, having fun and learning at the same time.  If you’re looking for a way to entertain the children this summer holiday why not check out one of our reserves and maybe try your hand at mini-beast hunting or pond dipping. By the way we spotted all of the creatures on the children’s wish list and more, except the Kangaroo of course!

Visit to find out more about the reserves in your area and the activities they have on offer for families. The highlight of our day was spotting a grass snake basking in the heat of the sun – what will you find?

Photos by Rachel Frain.