Keep in touch with nature!
While we can’t go outdoors as much as we would want to at the moment, we can still get out and about once a day. Spring is here, the birds are building nests, flowers are starting to bloom and busy bees are beginning to buzz around. We want to give you some fun things to do when you are out and about. We will also publish activities to bring the outside indoors, so we don't have to miss out on nature if we can't go to a park or don't have a garden.
Bees for flowers; flowers for bees
19 May 2020 is World Bee Day, the day we remember how important bees are for the survival of the planet.
Bees, along with other pollinators like butterflies, bugs, birds and bats, help plants reproduce. 70% of our vegetables and fruit are produced thanks to their great job, so humans also need bees. Without them, we wouldn’t have peaches, watermelons, apples, almonds, broccoli, squash, cucumber, onions, and so many other yummy essential foods!
Unfortunately, bees need our help. Deforestation, pollution and urbanisation have destroyed much of their habitat, so they struggle to find the pollen and nectar they eat. In London, where there is so much concrete, even a small pot of flowers, or some wild flowers in a park can help. So whether you it’s in your garden or window box, on your balcony or any patch of earth in your neighbourhood, let's help our bees!
Next week we celebrate BIODIVERSTY! That means celebrating life in all its forms. We need biodiversity, and need to protect habitats as much as possible and even create new ones to help different creatures survive.
You can help by making something that provides shelter or extra food for creatures in your garden, balcony, or local green space.
Think about what you can make for mini-beasts, birds and pond animals – something that provides protection from the weather or predators. Find a good spot to put it -somewhere safe, but close to water or food, if possible.
Wonderful weed hunt
A weed is what people call a plant they think is in the wrong place.
Some gardeners and farmers get rid of them, pulling them out (“weeding”), or applying weedkiller, but these plants are an important part of nature. Their flowers and leaves provide food for butterflies, bees, snails and worms. They can be pretty, too.
Build an indoor den
When we are outdoors at Forest School, we build cool dens with sticks, branches and anything we find in nature.
However, when it rains and we are stuck indoors, building dens can be just as much fun as it is in the woods.
What can you find to build your indoor den? Get creative and use furniture, blankets, strings, pegs... whatever you think might make your shelter cosy and warm. Maybe you can invite your parents for tea in there and email or tweet us a picture! (#ecoMissionComplete).
Sensory scavenger hunt
Our senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch) can wake up when we are outside.
We love touching natural things and feeling the different textures under our fingers. Have you ever tried to feeling the bark of a tree? What was it like? Was it rough? Smooth? Bumpy?
You might not have a chance to go outside very much at the moment, so we have made a sensory Scavenger Hunt that works both at home and outdoors!
See how many birds you can identify in your local area
In towns and cities, birds can be found in gardens, parks and streets. They build nests in trees, bushes and other safe places. Lots of birds feed on seeds and invertebrates (some of the minibeasts you may have looked for last week). Flowers and plants provide food for the minibeasts, and the plants and minibeasts provide food for the birds. These things are connected - part of what we call an ecosystem. Lots of different plants, minibeasts and birds means the ecosystem is healthy. Some of these birds are not seen so much around anymore because the loss of habitat makes it hard for them to survive. It is important that we help preserve nature.
Find out all about the mini-beasts that live around you.
Mini-beasts are ‘small creatures’, like worms, snails, insects and spiders. The scientific term for them is ‘invertebrates’ – a creature without a backbone. Did you know minibeasts make up 97% of all the creatures that exist on Earth?! That's a crazy lot!
Your challenge is to tick off as many of these mini-beasts in the picture as you can find. Remember you don't have to go outside to have a look for them, try having a look in a flower pot on a window sill, or open the windows and see what flies past. The more you look, the more you'll see.
Explore your local area and see if you can spot all the different tree types.
There are many different types of tree. They grow to different sizes, have different flowers, colours and shapes of leaf, even different tree trunks. See what you can find on our worksheet, which you can download and print the poster below, or open on your phone.We'd love it if you email or tweet us a picture of what you find (#ecoMissionComplete).
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Don't forget to share your work (#ecoMissionComplete) via email (email@example.com)