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Nature-club

Nature Club – 28 January 2018


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wrengroup

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January 6th, 2018

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BioBlitz Nature Club


During the 2017 BioBlitz there was also a Nature Club for the children.

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wrengroup

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June 20th, 2017

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Nature Club – December 2016 – Artists at work


Little tomatoes, mangoes, squashes, holly berries sat on the table in a colourful heap. We tried really hard to paint and draw these fruits and seeds with pastels and paints.

Luckily local artist Anita McCullough was there to give us a helping hand and we painted some great pictures to take home and frame. So we are now promising artists!

We also went on a winter bird search on Jubilee Pond to see what was new and identified no fewer than 16 species, including three kinds of gull, a shoveller, a cormorant, some pochards, and even a great crested grebe. Well done all eight children on fantastic skills.We tried counting up all the water birds – and counting all those gulls and canada geese was challenging. We came to some amazing totals and were rewarded with lots of gold coins as it is nearly Christmas.

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wrengroup

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December 12th, 2016

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Nature Club – November 2016 – A Rainy Day



Today it rained ALL morning. We made a giant spider’s web with Charlotte in the middle. Then we made leaf art : we rubbed the undersides of dried leaves ( the veins show more on the undersides) to make beautiful leaf skeleton pictures. Then we played Big Bingo. Menuo was a very good caller and Ruduo won the game.

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wrengroup

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December 12th, 2016

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Nature Club – October 2016 – Autumn Leaves


What a surprise present today: Ruduo and Menuo brought in the dried up body of a large dead hedgehog! We had a good look at its little feet and its skeleton and spines.

Then we had a rather damp walk across the Flats to see if we could spot any skylarks and collected lots of different shaped leaves on the way. We particularly like the big clumps of Rosebay Willowherb, whose leaves were turning a lovely deep shade of Autumn red. The stalks were taller than us. Apparently some people make tea out of the leaves.Then we made Leafy Lanterns. We stuck our colourful leaves on the outside of jam jars, and made a handle and put a tealight inside. Very pretty if a bit sticky!
Seven children today.

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wrengroup

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December 12th, 2016

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Nature Club – September 2016 – Pond dip and Bird Song


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A lovely warm day again. We listened to some recorded bird songs we were likely to hear around Jubilee Pond like coot and mallard and were pretty good at guessing which was which. We found guessing the swan’s song quite difficult!
Then we went pond dipping and found a lovely fat leech, lots of waterboatmen and dozens of pond snails. The pond snails had clear sacks of eggs attached to themselves and to pondweed. We also saw some small red-bodied dragonflies called common darters flying around. We had a great time on the swings too.
Then we went to investigate the six large mystery holes which have appeared in the little wood by the changing rooms. We will have to do more detective work to find out who made them…..

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wrengroup

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September 27th, 2016

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Nature Club – August 2016 – Grass Art and Grasshoppers


5566: Grass art people

5556: Summer flower crown
What do you do on a warm dry August morning? You go hunting minibeasts in the long dry grass! We looked especially for crickets and grasshoppers, the Olympic champion jumpers of the insect world. If they were the same size as us they could jump a whole football pitch in three jumps- that’s about 30 meters per jump! We tried it ourselves but we weren’t nearly as good. We found lots of late summer flowers in the grass and made wreaths for our hair out of bindweed flowers. We made doll figures out of the long dry yellow grass stalks, tied their arms and legs with raffia nad gave them clay faces with mini apples for eyes. They looked like the corn dollies people used to make after the harvest.
8 children today.

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wrengroup

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August 31st, 2016

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Nature Club – July 2016 – Woodlice and other minibeasts


5286: Making woodlouse homes
Did you know that a woodlouse has 14 legs? And that we used to swallow them live to cure a tummy ache? That’s why some people call them pill bugs. We did an experiment to find out where they prefer to make their home and found out that they prefer being in the dark and they like being damp too. They are not very waterproof like us and dry up quickly and have shells like lobsters. Like worms they are Nature’s Recyclers as they like to eat old decaying leaves and wood. So next time you see a woodlouse, don’t tread on it, it is doing a useful job!
Then we went round Jubilee Pond which looked very pretty in the sunshine with lots of wild flowers out. We had a go at catching butterflies and other creatures such as crickets and ladybirds with our sweep nets in the long grass. We got a bit hot and thirsty and fed the ducks with some proper duck food pellets.
9 children today.

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wrengroup

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July 31st, 2016

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Nature Club – June 2016 – Earthworm Watch and Minibeast Hunt


5099: Looking for earthworms
More Citizen Science for our young scientists! We took part in a national survey of earthworms called Earthworm Watch by looking at earthworms on Wanstead Flats and seeing what kind of soil we have. We dug a hole in a recently cleared patch of earth where some tree had been cut down. It was very hard as it had probably never been dug before and had tree roots and lumps of yellow clay. Ruduo was a terrific digger. Then we carefully sifted through the dark brown surface soil we had dug out and found 6 pale coloured surface- feeding worms, one of which had a ‘saddle’ which told us it was an adult. Then we poured a mustard powder and water mixture in the hole to see if there were any deep-living worms down there at the bottom. Worms don’t like this, so they come out. Mustard must be too hot for their taste, but it does not hurt them. We saw two more longer and darker worms appear!
We also did a test with a few of drops of vinegar to see if the soil fizzed. It did not so we learnt that it was not a limestone soil. We could squeeze handfuls of soil in to sausage and patty shapes which told us it was not a sandy soil but a clay soil. This is typical of the soil in the Thames Valley area where we live.
We also went looking for minibeasts amongst the lovely waving flowering grasses and found some beautiful spiders carrying their young in egg sacs between their spinners. We identified them as a wolf spider and a nursery web spider.
7 children today.

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wrengroup

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June 30th, 2016

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Nature Club – May 2016 – Pond Dip and Water Survey


Studying pond dip finds

Retrieving  ph strip

Images: GJ – Retrieving a ph strip. Studying pond dip finds.

We followed up the Clean Water Survey we did on our two ponds in March when we tested for water pollution. This time we thought about what wildife we might find in Spring in our ponds and we looked at some sedge plants, dried up yukky deadfrogs, some live toadlets, water snails and even a newt borrowed from Gill’s pond to remind us what to look for.
We did three tests on Jubilee Pond as part of the national OPAL survey. First we tested to see how clear the water was by collecting the pond water in a plastic bottle and working out if we could see the spots on the Opalometer disc in the bottom. The water was nice and clear and slightly green. Then we tested to see if the water was acid or alkali by dipping ph test strips in the pond and seeing what colour they turned. They turned greeny-blue, which told us that the water was not too alkaline which is good for wildlife. Finally we did our pond dip! It was quite cold and we only found small things such as beetles, lots of water boatmen, tiny bugs or fleas, and damselfly larvae and other larvae, which told us that the pond was a good place for wildlife and has a high Pond Health Score.
The ducks, swans and geese already knew this as there were lots of them there and they hadn’t done any of the tests! We had thirteen children today and several parents too.

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wrengroup

Posted on:
May 23rd, 2016

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