This blog is a celebration of the nature in the South East and highlights ways you can get involved and explore nature in the region. If you've got news of the South East’s nature that you'd like to share, please contact the RSPB South East office on 01273 775333 or email SERComms@rspb.org.uk
What is Wild Challenge?
Wild Challenge is a brilliant opportunity for families to connect with the natural world in exciting new ways – to reach out and touch it and meet it head-on, up-close and personal.
Our free online Wild Challenge activities are divided into two sections – helping and experiencing nature. There are a range of fun challenges to choose from and bronze, silver and gold awards to achieve depending on how many you complete.
Wild Challenge is run in partnership with Aldi, who have donated over £2 million from the sale of their single-use carrier bags in the first two years of the partnership alone!
Activity in focus: Pond Dipping
One of the wild activities that you can take part in is Pond Dipping. Beneath the surface of the water, there's an unseen world of amazing wildlife ready to be discovered.
Pond dipping is something we can all do and it's loads of fun! There are all sorts of interesting creatures living in even the smallest of ponds. What's lurking in the depths of a pond near you? Maybe a mysterious alien-like dragonfly nymph, or a great diving beetle perhaps!
So why don’t you set off on an expedition to your garden pond, or find a lake in a park near your home? All you need to find out what lives in the water is a net (you can find out how to make your own one here), a tray or a tub to put your finds in, spoons to look at the minibeasts that you find more closely and an ID sheet or a pond guide (you can download one here).
Approach the water quietly and slowly. This will give you the best chance to see the wildlife, not only in the water, but also by the water's edge. Once you’re at the water’s edge, look into the water first. This will give you a moment to see what it is you may catch, how it moves and where it hides! Then, slowly lower your net into the water. To keep the water flowing through the net, move it gently in a figure of eight motion. After a few loops gently lift it out, and place inside out in the water in your tray. The catch is then ready to be observed. You can figure out what you’ve caught by using the ID sheet.
Want some help from the experts?
If you want some expert help to get started on our Wild Challenge activities or just want to discover some new species you might not have at home, then why not book a place on one of our reserve Big Wild Sleepout events? You'll be able to tick off several Wild Challenges all at the same time then too!
Our Big Wild Sleepout activities are the perfect opportunity to get stuck into Wild Challenge.
You may end up with a whirligig beetle or one of the three species of newts in your net at RSPB Pulborough Brooks or RSPB Pagham Harbour. You might even spot a water vole in the reedbed at RSPB Rainham Marshes. For a really weird and wonderful experience, hunt for medicinal leeches and water scorpions at RSPB Dungeness!
Our Big Wild Sleepout events are once-a-year opportunity to camp out with us under the stars and take part in a whole host of wild activities that can all count towards your Wild Challenge award! Other activities include ‘tracking and signs, bug safari and moth trapping. Booking is essential, and for full details of each South East reserve event you can read our Big Wild Sleepout blog or click on the reserve name above!
This guest blog was written by Libby Morris, a content writer volunteer. To find out more about volunteering visit http://bit.ly/volrspb