Going Wild about Scotland through April

May 28, 2015 § Leave a comment


The Wild about Scotland team came up against four seasons worth of weather to deliver ‘Beaver/Wildcat’ and ‘Mini-beast’ lessons as well as public ‘drop-ins’ this month. The bus stayed close to the Central Belt for the most part but did venture through the Borders and also up to Aberdeenshire.

PublicDropInSession_April2015As it was the Easter holidays for two weeks of the month, the team were able to open up to the public for what they call ‘drop-ins’. This allows them to interact with hundreds of people a day highlighting the partnership between Clydesdale Bank and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), as well as talking about the work carried out by RZSS across the world. Although the bus is designed to host school groups it is easily adapted into an exhibition space to promote the Scottish Beaver Trial, Scottish wildcat conservation, marine pollution, deer management, and the importance of mini-beasts (both terrestrial and freshwater) and general native species adaptations.

Collage_April2015The bus spent ten separate days this month open to the public at various locations. Highlights included three days at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, at both the City Art Centre and Summerhall, and visiting a very busy Glasgow Botanics for some pond dipping in the sunshine. Scottish Wildlife Trust were kind enough to host us again, this time at two of their reserves; Falls of Clyde at New Lanark and Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre in Grangemouth. All in all we have had a fantastic month with 1,826 people visiting us on the bus at these venues. If you have an event you would like us to take part in then please fill out an enquiry form at www.rzss.org.uk/wildaboutscotland.

Back to the lessons; and as spring is in full bloom (not that you would know it some days this month, when we had to shelter from snow and hail) we are finding lots of interesting specimens on our mini-beast hunts. We have found everything from ant nests and beetle larvae to woodlice and spiderlings and as we get closer to summer it will only get better and better.

Bus driver DaveFrom the driver’s seat

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. This month we gained a new addition to the team, a second bus driver called Alan!

Having been the sole driver of the Wild about Scotland bus since the project began, it was with excitement and apprehension that I handed over the keys to our new recruit Alan Currie. Alan has driven buses through Fife and on tours around Scotland for a mere 35 years! Before letting him loose with our bus I gave him a couple of days of ‘expert’ tuition! It really is a unique driving experience – taking a double decker on routes no service bus would go. Planning your own route to avoid overhanging trees and low bridges and manoeuvring through school gates designed for vehicles from by-gone eras. In addition there are also the extra functions and upkeep of an exhibition vehicle to him us all busy. In his first week Alan had some fantastic venues- driving through the middle of Glasgow Botanics and reversing along the entire Main Street in New Lanark Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I can’t wait to tackle the windy roads of Mull and Skye next month!

Red-tailed-bumblebee

Red-tailed-bumblebee

Mini-beast of the Month’: Red tailed bumblebee
This bee pictured, was found at Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre, Grangemouth.

Queen bumblebees are currently setting up for the summer looking for places to nest. You’ll see bumblebees nesting in dark and dry places, sometimes underground or in thick grass.

BrodieKnowsBest#Brodie knows best

Each month Brodie the bus mascot answers your questions about science and nature.

Q. What do I do if I find a baby bird on the ground?

A. Spring is an amazing time of year with many animals laying eggs or giving birth to young. Something you might see are young chicks looking abandoned or lost. It is very tempting to pick up these babies and take them to the vet or SSPCA shelter, but really they should be left alone. During this time young birds are leaving their nests to explore for the first time, or fledging, and the parents are rarely far away. If you see any birds looking this way it is best to leave them alone as picking them up could do more harm than good. If the bird is clearly in danger, i.e. on a path or busy road then perhaps move it only a few feet to safety into the undergrowth and the parent bird will soon find it by its chirping.

Submit your questions for next month on Twitter @WildaboutScot using #Brodieknowsbest

Top teacher comments and tweets

“Super experience for all children” – Newcastleton Primary School

“Link to previous visit. Strong links with Eco schools” – Pitfour Primary School

“Our topic is biodiversity so this fit in PERFECTLY!” – Fyvie Primary School

“Children were engaged and motivated throughout…They were definitely extending their knowledge and thinking about topical issues” – Crombie Primary School

“The information and guidance was appropriate and positive/encouraging” – Crombie Primary School

“The activities were very hands on and children were learning lots without realising” – Logie Durno School

“Linked in with content covered in both maths and science lessons” – Mosshead Primary School

“Fitted in well with our rights respecting schools/global citizenship work” – Oxgang Primary School

Next month – May

Next month we will be on our travels once more as we head to Kintyre and Mull in Argyll, Highlands, and North Lanarkshire. You’ll also be able to see us at The Scottish Seabird Centre’s Puffin Fest in North Berwick on the 22nd as well as Scotland’s Big Nature Festival in Musselburgh on 23rd and 24th.

For more information about the Wild about Scotland Project and to see when the bus is next in your area, visit our website at www.rzss.org.uk/wildaboutscotland, follow us on twitter @WildaboutScot, or like our Facebook page.

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