Well, how time flies!
The Nature Squad has enjoyed it’s first two events this year and my, were they successes! But what, you may ask, does success look like to a group like A Planet Fit for Nature?
I am fairly sure that I speak for the entire Nature Squad when I say that a successful event is one where we have encouraged at least one child and one adult to positively change their views about nature.
By that measure alone, both Chesterfield Canal Festival and OsFest were absolute and resounding successes. They completely met our aspirations of passing on our own love for wildlife and we are confident that we managed to convert more than one bug-squasher into bug-huggers.
Chesterfield saw the Squaddies going out early to round up some of the local invertebrates to showcase their amazing and varied forms to the gaping public. Both adults and children were amazed, and that was before we introduced them to some of the more exotic species like Matt’s mantids and leaf insects. Glen championed a range of craft events from the stand including:
- Butterfly Feeders
- Lifecycle of a Butterfly Discs – creative use of pasta employed here!
- Wildlife Art/Colouring Competition – we even had an adult entry 🙂
We weren’t allowed a moment’s rest with regular influxes of curious kiddiewinks. I championed the more ho-hum varieties of British fauna such as the humble snails and slugs, with Turbo – our Brown Lipped Snail for the day – getting up to all sorts of mischief around the vivaria.
We showcased Evie Watson’s (5 years old) project to Help The Hedgehogs (see the projects page for more details) and this was met with intrigue by many, especially those who mistook the cuddly hedgehog toys for actual, real-life ‘hogs!
Diz and I managed to track down some aquatic life which, although limited to a small fish fry (sp. unknown), leech (sp. unknown), caddis fly larva, freshwater shrimp (sp. unknown), raised great interest from passers by. Mainly perhaps due to their visible elusiveness rather than their impressive presence!
Abigail, Matt’s wife, was rapidly upgraded to Nature Squaddie status at Chesterfield and slipped into the role as though it were an old pair of slippers. The kids loved her and were given huge comfort by her own confidence with our invert exhibits.
We had moths a-plenty, and caterpillars to boot and all were welcomed with new-found enthusiasm from unsuspecting members of the public.
OsFest was a slightly different affair, with lower visitor numbers but a clear increase in the level of engagement from those who stopped by. Some of the kids stayed with the stall all day long, save for the odd return to their folks to tell them what they’d been up to.
We also had official banners and mugs thanks to Matt for contributing, and thanks also to Glen for arranging for our first ever uniforms to be embroidered. Where once our stand was adorned with laminated A4 sheets of paper bearing the A Planet Fit For Nature nomenclature, we now had fully branded kit and we truly wore it all with great pride.
A Planet Fit for Nature had reached another level – so much so that we are now receiving regular requests to attend events all around the country!
We were delighted, at both events, to be able to offer absolutely brilliant, signed prizes from the following folk, whose names you may be familiar:
- Chris Packham (Author, Broadcaster and Naturalis – BBC Springwatch, The Really Wild Show and many more)
- Jess French (CBeebies Minibeast Adventures)
- Carl Mynott (yes, that’s me – Author and Illustrator – British Wildlife Tales)
Our thanks go to all of those who contributed prizes, equipment and time to make both of these events such brilliant, encouraging wins for wildlife.
We are presently planning our future schedule of events, so please get in touch if you have any ideas, or if you want us to attend your local festival/fayre/carnival/show. We’d love to see if we can get a team together.