We have a wonderful education team here at Sandwell Valley who work with local schools, youth groups, youth organisations and families. From leading guided walks to teaching children how to pond dip, our team are always on hand to help young learners connect to nature and discover the world around them.
As it's World Teacher's Day, we thought we'd ask Lucy (our Learning Officer) and Anna (our Education, Youth and Families Intern) a couple of fun questions...
Q: What’s your role here at RSPB Sandwell?
A: I’m the Learning Officer at RSPB Sandwell Valley.
Q: What’s your favourite type of school session?
A: I love any session where the adults and children are really engaged in learning outdoors and having fun. I really like all of the activities we offer but nothing beats the squeal of delight of a child discovering their first newt during a pond dipping session. It’s great when someone complains they haven’t got anything in their net only to discover hundreds of tiny minibeasts lurking in the tray when they look closely!
Q: What’s your favourite flower?
A: I love cornflowers and I’ve been very lucky to be surrounded by them in our beautiful Mini-Beast Meadow all Summer.
Q: Which season do you like the most?
A; There are lots of things I like about each of the seasons and I enjoy seeing all of the seasonal changes on our beautiful reserve. I particularly love Spring, seeing new leaves and blossom on the trees, it’s as though the reserve’s waking up and getting ready for our busy season!
Q: What was your favourite subject at school?
A: I just really enjoyed learning and liked most subjects. I feel very fortunate working for the RSPB as I learn something new every day.
Q: Have you spotted anything exciting during a school session?
A: One of the reasons I enjoy working with children is that they can see the wonder in anything, they find the discovery of an enormous Leopard Slug just as exciting as the parakeets on our feeders. Having said that, there’s always a lot of excitement if we find a toad or newt and the children love visiting the hide and seeing some of the water birds up close, especially when they have chicks.
Q: Why is it important to help children connect to nature?
A: Children have an natural curiosity and an interest in nature but sadly these days there are fewer opportunities for children to connect to nature. Spending time outdoors is good for our mental and physical health. The more children know about nature, the more interested they’ll be in it and the stronger their desire to protect the natural world will become. Children can be a very powerful force for change, I’ve met a lot of incredible young people since working for RSPB who could teach the grown ups a thing or two about protecting our planet!
Q: What's your role here at RSPB Sandwell?
A: My role here at Sandwell Valley is Education, Youth and Families Intern. I assist the team and running school visits and events during out of term time.
A: Probably ‘Plant Detectives’. We get to mix science and crafts which is always a great way to learn.
A: It’s a tossup between Bluebells and Thistles. I love the colours and find them so beautiful.
A: Autumn, hands down. I love the colours, crunchy leaves and the cosy atmosphere when the nights close in. Plus conkers. Conkers are fun to find at any age!
A: Geography. Particularly anything to do with tectonics. My teachers were amazing and definitely helped make the subject fascinating.
A: A Great Diving Beetle. It was my first time seeing one and it jumped out the tray! It was huge and proceeded to try and climb up my arm before escaping back into the pond.
A: Having a connection to nature, alongside just being fun, allows for so many benefits whether you are an adult or child. It can improve our physical health, mental health, our wellbeing - but I think for kids it can be so much more.
Building a connection to nature from an early age, whether it be from occasional trips to a woodland or just helping in the garden, can give children a whole new world to explore as they grow older. It’s been proven that spending time in the outdoors can enhance development and communication skills. Even building a den comes with underlying benefits; introducing them to the idea of teamwork and problem solving through finding the best stick to place where.
It can also allow for a new way of thinking and potentially a new appreciation and empathy for the wilder world. A positive experience can stick with you forever and that lasting impression is so vital in the ongoing protection and conservation of our habitats. So, whether that’s jumping in a puddle or hunting for a woodlouse, there’s an entry to nature for everyone.
If you're interested in booking a school session with us or would like to discover more about the activities we offer for EYFS, KS1 and KS2, please click here.
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