Tuesday, 5 January 2016

THE NATURE TABLE


Our new year's resolution is simple, to make our lives a little bit wilder. So this year we're going to make an effort as a family to get out more and learn about the nature around us, picking up basic ID skills as we go.

If you've visited this blog before you'll know all about my passion for connecting children with nature and my concern about the impact of nature deficit disorder, you can read my 2008 thoughts here and here.

I have worked for The Wildlife Trusts for 15 years but to be honest I didn't know much about wildlife before I started working there, in fact I don't even think I owned a pair of wellies! Most of my passion has come from being surrounded by colleagues that are quite simply nerds about nature, bird watchers, badger vaccinators and otter poo sniffers (don't ask!) and by working for a conservation charity I have the access to some of the most wonderful wildlife and places to visit.

I am blessed to be able to share this with my children, but even with this knowledge we do find it hard to get out as a family with the same time pressures that all others families have; after school clubs, homework, work commitments, sports clubs and weekend matches and screen time (the boys even have online homework!)

Last year the Wildlife Trusts launched their Every Child Wild campaign to engage children with nature, one of the stats that stood out for me was that less than 24% of children surveyed had an indoor nature display area like a nature table. So that was it, the seed was planted and we're going to bring back the nature table! We'll display the bits and bobs we find on our weekly wild adventures and most importantly learn about what we find*, like a proper old fashioned school nature table.

We'll try and post regularly on here, I'm hoping the boys will contribute their thoughts here too and I'll also post over on Instagram using the hashtag #thenaturetable you are most welcome to join in too, the more the merrier. I am hoping we'll increase our knowledge, observe the seasons changing and get to spend quality time together.

P.s. If you live in Gloucestershire there's an offer on membership of the Wildlife Trust this January, just use the word GIFT in the offer code to take advantage of an amazing 50% off your membership which starts from just £1.25/month! The family membership is rather fab as the children get their own Wildlife Watch mailings four times a year too.

*as wildlife identification skills are increasingly on the decline and just not passed down from generation to generation anymore

6 comments:

  1. What a great new year's resolution! I look forward to seeing your nature table posts. We let our own nature table lapse and then we refresh it and then it gathers dust and then we clear it all away and then start it up again months later. Something new every week sounds like a great way to keep it fresh!

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  2. It's a great idea. My granddaughter likes to head outside when she arrives at our house and see whether there is a strawberry on, or whether there are blueberries left to pick. She'll find the tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants we have growing at the moment and I let her pick them, eat them fresh or come in and cook them up with me. She knows the names of the herbs and other plants in the garden and when we take her bushwalking we tell her the common and botanical names for plants - along with fun names, like 'snobby got'. I have leaves and seeds and dead insects in bowls around the house and she'll look in the bowls by turn to see what's new. She brought out the bladder cicada from a recent post in her hand - others would not have wanted to pick it up - and wanted to know what it was. It's such a lovely way to learn about the world and she's so curious about it all.

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  3. Brilliant - a wilder year is just perfect. I hope you have LOADS of fun with this one :)

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  4. Love this idea Emma! You know I am in! We have a curiosity cupboard, full of shells, skulls and seeds. I always quiz the boys on tree species. I am determined to learn more about things myself. So I shall be following with much interest and joining in! :) x

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  5. Lovely idea - my youngest son is always bringing things back for his 'collection' - nuts, berries, leaves, feathers, corn cobs which he took to playgroup and the kids couldn't wait to peel back the outer leaves to see what was inside. I tend to put it a box or on a big plate but I will clear some space for a proper display. So true about finding the time with family, school and activity commitments - and screens....aaargghh...we have a spread of ages like you, 4, 9 and 12 with something always going on with one or other of them. I look forward to reading more of your nature table posts. Good luck with it :)

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