Our role in the Stroud Festival of Nature is primarily to make sure more people have access to and are involved in all the wonderful things that are going on. We love it because we get to do all the fun stuff!
This year we also ran our very own stand with our Youth Environmental Group ‘Our World’! The stall covered two areas that we’ve been looking at throughout the winter: reducing our carbon footprints and plastic use. It was also the Zoology point for children with Nature Ambassador Passports to come and learn all about the animal kingdom and receive their Zoology stamp.
Throughout the summer we’ve been working with Stroud Nature to get hard to reach groups involved in the wonderful opportunities that are available from the Stroud Nature Forum throughout the summer. We’ve worked across the age range, and with people from all backgrounds and all walks of life, giving them the opportunity to have new experiences out in their local area. We’ve been on art in nature days, hawk walks, photography days, camps and walks, and have seen some lovely responses. People claiming their local places, trying new things, and gaining confidence to do more of the same independently. For some the experience was life changing.
Throughout July we ran four great Meet The Experts days, which were held in the stunning grounds of the Museum in the Park. Each day we had 60 children from local primary schools joining us to learn all about the natural world around them from our on site nature experts.
Each child received a beautiful Nature Ambassador Passport, in which they could take notes or draw pictures of the things they learnt, and receive a stamp to certify their new-found expertise. The passports were also designed to be completed at the Stroud Festival of Nature, where the remainder of the nature experts would be. Each child was invited to bring their friends and family along to the Festival to get involved, complete their passports, and then receive a certificate marking them as a Nature Ambassador.
The days were a huge success, with children discovering things they had never known existed, and facing their fears and misconceptions about things such as bats, moths, and fungi. It was a joy to see them so excited and engaged, and the feedback that we received from the children themselves, their teachers, and the experts, was fantastic.
If you’d like to know more about our 2017 Meet The Experts project, and see some of our wonderful feedback, then have a look at our Meet The Experts Report.
We also ran two wonderful Nature in Art days with two local schools, The Apperley Centre in Stonehouse, and Randwick Primary School.
On both days we took children outside and prompted them to explore the natural world around them, both physically and emotionally. They found sharp things, soft things, brightly coloured things, squidgy things, and unusual things, some of which they could keep, and some which they left in their places.
We then gave each child their own sketchbook, and offered them a range of different art materials that they could choose from. For the more unusual materials we gave a small demonstration on how to use them, and then we left them to it. Both afternoons were full of the sound of children chatting, asking each other questions, and laughing, as they experimented with different materials and techniques to create their own natural worlds on paper.
You can read our Nature in Art 2017 Report here; Nature In Art 2017.
You can read read last years report here; Working With Stroud Nature 15/16.