Lessons about nature are by far the most popular subject in our house. Our discovery of frogs and newts spawning in the local pond has therefore made our daily walks a lot more exciting!
We are very grateful to have been able to enjoy such wonderful woods, wetlands and heathlands within a short walking distance from our house over this last year, however with the noticeably increased popularity of these areas it has raised the important question for me as to how we should be looking after these fragile ecosystems.
Today is World Wildlife Day and so I have therefore been taking the time to try to educate myself a bit more about our local natural ecosystems, the many wildlife species that they support and most importantly the threats that they are currently facing.
The frogs and newts that we discovered for example are actually incredibly important wetland animals and are protected by law. So I have therefore been explaining to my boys that as much as they would really like to touch them, we should instead just observe them so as to not frighten, disturb or harm them or their spawn. (Imagine if every child in the village wanted to touch them, the poor things wouldn’t get a moments peace!)
Excitingly, the Horsell Common Preservation Society has also confirmed today that the rare and protected Woodlark bird has been spotted on the common (see a picture on their Facebook page) and so they are therefore now asking the public to please stick to the paths during this crucial breeding season (March- September) as these birds build their nests on the ground. So I will also now have to stop my boys from playing hide-and-seek in the bushes for the next few months. (The advice also applies to keeping dogs out of the undergrowth.)
I have always tried to teach my boys to appreciate and respect all of nature, but with the ground nesting birds for example I just wasn’t aware of this and so I am quicky trying to educate myself on our local species and how we can look after them.
Planet Woking has recently recorded a talk on The Great Outdoors, which covers how we can look after our local nature (and its website even has a page about the Great Crested Newt). One of the speakers was from the Surrey Wildlife Trust and so I am now working my way through their website which has a lot of really great information on it, including an online nature club for kids. (The Surrey Heathland Partnership page also has some good quick reference information.)
World Wildlife Day is all about celebrating and raising awareness of all of the world’s wild animals and plants. So I am just giving a big shout-out here to our new little amphibian friends that we hope to watch hatch in a few weeks time and to the beautiful ground nesting birds that need to stay hidden.
#DoOneThingToday to make a difference and help wildlife conservation.