Sunday afternoons as a child often involved sitting by my Grandad’s pond, a slice of Victoria sponge in one hand and a bewildered frog in the other. There was nothing I liked more than exploring the delights lurking within the folds in the pond lining, often bypassing my Grandmother’s welcoming embrace in anticipation of what I might find. 

If someone were to tell me 5 years ago, that pond dipping would become an integral part of my job (albeit with a better knowledge on how to respect pond-dwelling creatures and the sanctity of their habitat!), I would think it too good to be true. And yet, I’m here beginning my third week as a Learning Officer at RSPB Newport.

I have always followed my instinctive passion for wildlife, through my education, volunteering and later, career. I undertook a BSc in Zoology at Swansea university, whilst volunteering for Llanelli WWT and BZG Wild Place Project as a Learning assistant. Being able to share my love for the natural world with children and students was an unequalled privilege, and I was inspired to study for my PGCE in Secondary Science.

I taught Science at a wonderful school for 4 years, before the nagging feeling to swap my laboratory for lagoons and reedbeds became too strong to ignore. So here I am, with my wonderful learning assistant Amanda, and my incredible team of volunteers embarking on a journey into minibeast hunting, seasonal walks and pond dipping. Arthur, a companion of the knitted kind, has been showing me the ropes out on the reserve and refreshing my knowledge of wetland birds. We are so excited to enter May with lots of school bookings, and cannot wait to have school groups join us on this adventure. Although, we do insist that cake-eating and pond-dipping are kept as separate activities!

If you are a teacher in a local school or you work in a pre school setting we would love to have you visit. We offer a range of different activities for all year groups from pond dipping to bug hunting. For enquires please fill out enquiries form. https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-teachers/school-trips/newport-wetlands/ We are really excited to meet you all!

Author Emma Reynolds

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