Going Wild about Scotland through October
November 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
It was a second month of success for the ‘Wild about Scotland’ education bus!
Last month the specially designed interactive classroom, a partnership with Clydesdale Bank, made its way up to the Cairngorms, also fitting in trips to schools in the Central Belt and Stirling.
During the October holidays the bus visited Highland Wildlife Park, where it parked up for a full week. With the Cairngorms as a backdrop, the bus opened its doors to visitors of all ages to drop in and experience the unique learning environment.
Over 300 visitors to the Park took part in our ‘beaver dam challenge’. With a bundle of twigs, a shallow tray and a jug of water, the challenge was to see which dam could hold back the water for the longest – a smaller scale version of some of the activity that the re-introduced beavers have been getting up to in the Knapdale Forest, Argyll. The fun challenge was used to highlight The Scottish Beaver Trial – a partnership project between RZSS, SWT and Forestry Commission Scotland. We hope visitors were able to learn more about the life and work of beavers and how important they are as nature’s environmental engineers.
During the rest of the month, the bus visited 14 schools, even helping six of these schools work towards their third Eco-School Green Flag. At these schools in particular, the ‘Wild about Scotland’ lessons were a welcomed addition to the curriculum already in place, allowing pupils to relate what they are learning in the traditional classroom environment to Scottish conservation.
Here are some quotes from teachers this month:
“Our current P4-7 learning context is ‘pollution’ so the sessions fitted well.”
“One of our class topics is Australia – it was ideal to compare animals in each country.”
“It was great to see our outdoors used so efficiently!”
Even though the nights are getting longer, leaves are falling and winter has arrived, there are still a few of the more resilient mini-beasts roaming through the gardens. This month, bus mascot Brodie the Beaver has paw picked this creepy crawly as his ‘Mini-beast of the Month’:
This little critter was discovered by pupils at Buchanan Primary School near Loch Lomond.
Did you know that in order to grow, centipedes shed their hard exoskeleton? Pictured here is one that was found emerging from its old exoskeleton.
Brodie the toy beaver is the bus mascot and helps children learn all about beavers and their habitat
Did you know that by building dams beavers can actually help reduce the risk of flooding lower down in river systems? They moderate the flow of water and can also benefit biodiversity by raising the water table locally, creating small wetland areas.
Each month our ‘Wild about Scotland’ bus driver David gives you a wee insight into what it’s like to drive our double decker the length and breadth of Scotland.
“The wet weather of Scottish winters has begun, but you certainly won’t see any muddy footprints on the bus! Apart from driving the bus, it’s also my responsibility to make sure the bus is clean and looking it’s best before the children hop on board. At the end of the day and between every lesson I spend ten minutes sweeping and mopping both floors of the bus, and of course the spectacular waterfall staircase. I also make sure the outside of the bus is clean too so that when I am driving past people on the street they can appreciate the beautiful photos of Scottish wildlife which decorate the bus – you may be surprised to find out that I even take the bus through a bus wash from time to time!
I have to be very careful when driving the bus into school car parks – sometimes it can be a little bit of a tight squeeze! When I arrive outside each school I park up the bus then rummage through my tool box to find my trusty measuring tape. I then measure the distance between the gate pillars to make sure they are over 9 foot apart. The bus is 8 foot wide (not including the mirrors) so I know that if I swing the bus round to be square on then I can just squeeze through the gates. School gates aren’t generally built with the access of a double decker bus in mind! The strangest place we have had to park up this month, due to not being able to fit on the school grounds was on our visit to Deanston Primary School near Doune. Local Deanston Distillery offered up their car park and we were able to host the lesson there.”
Top Tweets from October:
@CorntionPrimary1 – Cornton Primary School, 21 October – “The Wild about Scotland bus are visiting P5 and 6 this week! pic.twitter.com/yLWrMk0bwa”
@deanstonmalt – Deanston Distillery, Oct 22 – “@WildaboutScot our pleasure, great to see you and be able to support. Not often we have a ‘Wild Bus’ in the car park! #wildaboutscotland”
In reply to:
@WildaboutScot – Wild about Scotland, Oct 22 – “Massive thanks to Deanston Distillery @deanstonmalt for letting us use their car park! #wildaboutscotland #rzss”
@p45_boreps – Primary 4/5 at Borestone Primary School, Oct 25 – “A hint for pupils wondering about Tuesday’s surprise. We’re on the map. 4 days to go. #excited @WildaboutScot http://www.cbonline.co.uk/wild-about-scotland-map/?source=cbonline#”
@p45_boreps – Primary 4/5 at Borestone Primary School, Oct 28 – “I can identify different species and present data in a graph. Thanks @WildaboutScot P4/5 and P7 loved it.”