We recently ran a competition for students from two local schools to design elements of our new Creative Space area at Wolf Fields Urban Nature Reserve. The winners were treated to an outing to Knepp a 3,500-acre estate just south of Horsham, West Sussex and ‘one of the largest rewilding projects in Europe’.
The group of intrepid explorers from Southall were guided by Senior Ecologist Penny Green as they toured the estate. From the Safari vehicle, they witnessed a Red Deer getting ready for rutting season, rubbing his antlers against shrubs and trees. As they stopped for a walk, found a Grass Snake and a Slow Worm, which one of the children was able to handle.
The children were able to see many interesting creatures, including Long Horn Cattle, Tamworth Pigs and Fallow Deer. They also saw some magnificent birds including a hobby, buzzards, a little grebe and white storks (which are being reintroduced as an experiment at Knepp). The group climbed a treehouse to get a bird’s eye view of the impressive estate.
Lots of good conversations ensued over lunch, following this taste of nature, and the children and their accompanying parents had a wonderful opportunity to learn and think about conservation. The children were then able to buy some books about wildlife and some local honey, and we’ve since received an email from one of the parents sending their thanks, as the day out ‘is all their child can talk about’.
For these urban-dwelling kids, an encounter with nature has proved to be inspirational.