The approach and onset of Autumn brings with it great splashes of colour as the leaves change from greens to a blaze of reds, oranges, yellows and so many mixtures of shades in-between. Along with this change of colour come changes in wildlife as it needs to prepare itself for winter.

What a rich area of activity this could provide for children’s events around the half-term break. So, with Essex Library Service looking for speakers and subjects to interest young readers and their families and the RSPB looking for ways to get families involved in helping nature, this developed into three ‘Autumn Explorer’ events held in Shenfield, Wickford and Rayleigh Libraries. What then to explore? Well as layers of leaves drop to the ground it provides both a blanket as well as a blaze of colour, beneath which nature quietly carries on with its own renewal. But, does nature need to do this alone?

Rayleigh Library Tree

Nature, of course, can benefit from being given a helping hand just the same as we all can at times. involving the youngsters and family members in this question took the simple step of finding out about different shapes of leaves through a treasure hunt to discover not just the names of the trees but discover the different areas of the library at the same time. This led on to making leaf rubbings then cutting out colouring and decorating them for display onto a silhouette of a tree ... with great results! I hope you’ll agree. Beneath each tree sits the sign from the RSPB inviting all who see it to Give Nature a Home which was what the stories that were read with the groups sought to help us to think of and to go on to be inspired to do

Shenfield Library Tree

These are not tricky or complicated things and can range from creating little green patches on a balcony, planting a wildlife friendly tree or shrub in your garden through to creating hedges or nature corridors. No matter how small a commitment each person made at these events they will all add up to make a big difference and thinking about this led to lots of fantastic ideas coming up ... far too many to list here. So will you give nature a helping hand this winter too? When you’ve chosen how to help or come up with an idea of your own then pop on over to our website and tell us about it or share it with your friends and, most importantly, have fun doing it. We'd love to hear from you!

Here’s to Happy Helping.

Wickford Library Tree

*With special thanks to the staff, volunteers of, and visitors to, the libraries listed.

Dennis – Community Engagement Assistant