Sometimes I think there is a perception that the education staff and volunteers “just do stuff with kids”. It is certainly true that we do work an awful lot with schools and youth groups and also that many of our events are tailored towards family groups, but we also work a lot with adult groups too and the last couple of weeks have really reflected that!
Last Wednesday saw the last of a short course of four brilliant “Stargazing for beginners” sessions’ led by Stephen Tonkin of the “Fordingbridge Astronomers”. Participants were taught the basics of astronomy including equipment, deep space and the solar system with plenty of opportunity for practical observations (whenever cloud cover, or rather the lack of it, allowed!). Unfortunately there was not a huge take up this time but it was really well received by those who did attend and one to look out for when we repeat it, probably this time next year.
Finishing today was another course of four sessions – this time photography led by John Coombes. Covering the basics of the camera (off automatic mode), macro and bird photography John has offered these courses at Blashford for several years now, and they continue to grow in popularity as word spreads about how good they are! John is back running the course in the summer – details on the website; www.hiwwt.org.uk!
Tracy has already blogged a description of her hedgerow basket course that she ran last Sunday (and will be repeating in the autumn due to popular demand, again see the website!), but last weekend I was busy on Saturday teaching teachers from a local Primary School the do’s and don’ts of firelighting/campfire cooking with children and earlier in the week we were both playing host to student teachers training with the South Coast School Centred Initial Teacher Training course and giving them hands on experience of a range of science and geography led outdoor activities and encouraging them to get outside as much as possible in their future teaching careers.
Today has been no less busy with a less formal “Pond dipping for Grownups” event which was well attended and very much appreciated this morning, despite the cold!
On a more general wildlife note, at least 14 sandmartins have been over Ibsley water today where the three grebes are still present and there has been at least one little gull reported. The bittern is STILL outside Ivy North Hide, and, finally, some pictures from Martin King taken earlier in the week when the sun was shining of one of the two soprano pipistrelles I mentioned in my blog last weekend. Until the sun disappeared they were there regular as clockwork over the centre car park in the afternoon and have been brilliant to see! Not sure why this one is so ragged around the edges, but it doesn’t seem to have hindered its flight!