I can hardly believe we’ve reached the end of March already. Spring is slowly (very slowly) creeping up on us here in Scotland and we’ve had a rare few beautiful, sunny days in between the relentless snow and cold. I even managed to spot my first butterflies and bees of the year on a lovely lunchtime walk in Stirling which made me very happy indeed! I even got to hold a hoverfly which, if I’m honest, is not something I ever thought I’d be doing! The things you get up to working for Buglife…
I seem to have swapped mud snails for pollinators this month and I’ve been quite a busy bee myself…
Another of Buglife’s projects -‘Scotland’s Buzzing’ – has been coming to its end this month and so its been all hands on deck to get the project targets completed in time. This gave me some great opportunities to get more involved in working with schools; for a couple of weeks I accompanied Ally on his pollinator sessions to get a feel for what’s involved, then just this week I ran my first primary school sessions on my own! Working mostly with P5 to P7 I was teaching them all about different groups of pollinators, why they are important and – the really fun part – letting them explore and get their hands dirty on a good old bug hunt. Still a little cold for bees and butterflies but there were plenty of slugs, snails, worms and spiders to be found and the kids were perfectly happy with that!
I’ve also been in the student’s chair myself this month as I’ve attended my first couple of training courses. The first course was a brilliant TCV workshop on citizen science where we spent the day learning how to engage people with their local environment through simple, fun wildlife surveys whilst contributing to science. We even got to be big kids and do some bug hunting ourselves!
The other course I went on this month was a weekend course at Kindrogan FSC centre about using the outdoors as an educational tool for school children. Being the only non-teacher in the group I felt slightly out of place but it enormously interesting and I learned a lot. We covered everything from doing maths with trees, writing landscape-inspired poetry, how to build campfires and using orienteering to actively engage with different subjects. Inevitably, there was also some pond dipping and citizen science involved which was much more familiar territory for me! It was a really fantastic weekend and I had a lot of fun (not least because the sun was shining and we spent most of our time essentially playing outdoors!)
Rewinding to the beginning of the month I was, yet again, presented with lots of new names and faces at our big Buglife staff gathering in Hemel Hempstead. This was a lovely chance to get familiar with the rest of the Buglife team out with Scotland and to hear about all the fantastic projects going on across the UK. There was lots of chatting and team building and fun activities – including a sewing session led by Suzie making beautiful felt bugs! I must say, I am rather proud of my sparkly bee.
Of course, I’m not forgetting about our precious mud snails. Our little office population is still doing well and a couple of the tanks now have tiny little snail babies!! I’m afraid I couldn’t get any photos of them as they are just too minuscule, but you can admire some photos of the equally adorable adults instead.
Well, that’s all from me for now – keep your eyes peeled for another update next month and hopefully more snail-related news!
~ Jo 🙂