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Successful Family Wildlife Day in Birdham

By Louise Barnetson

Our Family Wildlife Day at St. James Churchyard in Birdham was a huge success - on Saturday 27th May we welcomed over 150 people to enjoy the beautiful churchyard and take part in a range of nature-based activities including:

  • Bat box making

  • Bird box making

  • Hedgehog house making

  • Slow worm hunting

  • Nature Trail

  • Pond dipping

  • Wildflower bomb making

  • Bird feeder making

  • Plant a sunflower

  • Moth trapping and identification

  • Making a mini bug house to take home

  • Making Bug hotels for the churchyard

  • Bug hunting

We were able to offer all these activities for free as this was part of our Wittering Area Community Conservation project, funded by the Woodger Trust.

We brought the village pond to the churchyard! By filling these large trugs with water from the village pond across the road we were able to introduce children to the joys of pond-dipping. We found all sort of pond creatures including tadpoles and small fish.

Using old wooden pallets and donated materials we got the children involved in making two amazing bug hotels which will enhance the wildlife value of this already nature-filled churchyard. The children had great fun filling the pallets with bamboo, sticks, old tiles, pinecones, straw and pipes which will all provide fantastic homes for bugs. This bug hotel also has a hedgehog house annex!

We set up a nature trail around the churchyard providing information about different habitats including wildflower meadows, log piles, compost heaps, and hedgerows. The families enjoyed exploring the different areas of the churchyard and finding out how these different habitats are used by wildlife.

Corrugated iron sheets provide shelter for slow worms and we were thrilled to be able to show the children these wonderful reptiles, of which there is a thriving population in the churchyard.

Children were able to make bird feeders, mini bug houses, wildflower bombs, bird boxes, bat boxes, and plant sunflower seeds to take home and improve the wildlife value of their own gardens.

Magnifying glasses, binoculars, bug pots, and spotting sheets were provided to enable families to get a closer look at wildlife and try to identify the bugs and plants in the churchyard.

The Colourful Caterpillar game proved popular - inspired by the blue tits that are nesting in the ancient tree in the churchyard, it was designed to get young children thinking about how birds feed their babies and how and why caterpillars are camouflaged.

It was lovely to see multi-generational families enjoying the sunshine and engaging with nature together in such a beautiful setting.

We must say a huge THANK YOU to the amazing team of volunteers who turned up to help run the event on the day, and help set things up the previous day, and everyone who donated materials. Thank you also to everyone from St. James Church who made it possible for us to hold this event there. We couldn't have done it without you all!


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