Over the past few days I’ve worked with very creative teachers and children from three Gloucestershire schools, using the outdoor environment and natural world as the inspiration for their studies. On each Wild Wonder Day the children have visited local environments to explore and then use observation and photography to develop ideas. And we’ve discovered some surprising species on the schools doorsteps!
To develop art and writing for a project based on the novel ‘The Snow Goose’ a class of YR5 &6’s (9-11yr olds) and I spent the day at WWT Slimbridge to study how birds fly. Filming in slow-motion to understand the motion of flight and looking at composition and perspective in photography the children created a superb body of images and film to use for the terms project. I look forward to seeing the artwork and writing that they produce.
Working with Croft school in Painswick, exploring the local environment, one class walked to the nearby Rococo Gardens, while the other went on a wildlife photography safari through the school grounds. Photographed among the daisies, the playing field becomes a jungle, and then we explored pond – with visions of the Amazon. Minibeasts are always a draw, so there was great excitement to discover treehoppers, diving beetles and spiders; which needed amazing perseverance from the 7yr olds to photograph them.
The encjanting Rococo Gardens were a photographic feast for the pupils and also offered a surprising array of wildlife, wild garlic, bees, damselflies and even newts – perfect for a spot of underwater photography.
And finally an adder!
Some schools have gorgeous wildflower meadows or woodlands and ponds – but the children at Cranham school have a small tarmac playground. However, just beyond the school fence is Cranham Common Nature Reserve – a wonderfully wild habitat, rich in wildflowers, minibeasts and adders! So a Wild Wonder Day with the school on the common was certain to offer some natural delights. Every child explored, experienced and touched their local habitat and captured incredible images. They discovered butterfly orchids, newts, yellow rattle, maybugs, beetles, slow worms. And yes we did see an adder basking!
Venomous snakes may not be what everyone would wish to discover on a school outing, but these protected species are an important part of the children’s local community. An understanding and awareness of the adders and other wildlife is crucial if future generations are to value and protect the Common.
All photos (except adder!) by children