Going Wild about Scotland through May!

June 11, 2015 § Leave a comment


Traffic jam of Highland cows on Mull!

Traffic jam of Highland cows on Mull!

We’ve had an exciting May; spreading the word about Scotland’s amazing wildlife to schools in Argyll, the Isle of Mull, the Highlands, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire.

Whilst in Argyll we had the opportunity to visit the site of the official Scottish Beaver Trial in the Knapdale forest, near Lochgilphead. The re- introduction of beavers is a key topic of discussion in the lessons we teach on the bus. It was fantastic to finally see the positive impact of these beavers first hand!

Vegetables grown by pupils at Ulva Ferry Primary School, Mull.

Vegetables grown by pupils at Ulva Ferry Primary School, Mull.

This month also saw the bus on its first ferry voyage to the Isle of Mull. Apart from a stretch close to the ferry port at Craignure, the roads on Mull are all single track with passing places. It wasn’t long before we hit a traffic jam – of highland cows!

Future naturalists hard at work during our wildcat session.

Future naturalists hard at work during our wildcat session.

Lots of the schools we’ve visited recently have been busy planting flowers and vegetables. We particularly liked Ulva Ferry Primary School’s ingenious use of the bike shed as a makeshift greenhouse. A special thank you to the people of Mull for their hospitality as, despite getting two punctures in the car on our last morning, we still managed to make it to all of our schools.

Another highlight for us, whilst visiting schools in the Fort William area, was seeing The Jacobite steam train and the stunning Glenfinnan viaduct- now infamous thanks to the Harry Potter films.

Queueing up to get on board at RSPB’s Scotland’s Big Nature Festival.

Queueing up to get on board at RSPB’s Scotland’s Big Nature Festival.

As well as visiting schools we’ve opened our doors to members of the public at Benmore Botanics in Dunoon, helped the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick to celebrate their 15th birthday at their “Puffin Fest” event and engaged with over 1,600 visitors at the RSPB’s Big Nature Festival in Musselburgh. It was brilliant to meet enthusiasts of all ages passionate about celebrating and conserving Scotland’s natural environment.

Still curious about what happens on the Wild about Scotland bus? Check out our brand new video

We are still taking enquiries and starting to book school visits for after the summer holidays! Check out our webpage for details about how to request a visit from our bus: http://www.rzss.org.uk/wildaboutscotland

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.

An interesting month – Argyll & Bute, Highlands and Islands, ferries and miles of single track roads, with the bonus of good weather. So far easily the best scenery of the project and some very amusing children. One in particular, probably primary one or two, confidently stepped on board and said, “Thanks very much driver”, handing me 50p! Another quipped, “Should you really be driving at your age?” The mouths of babes! Looking forward to next month – more islands and more ferries!

BrodieKnowsBest#Brodie knows best

Brodie’s mini-beast of the month

 

Hoverfly Meredon equestis, found by pupils at Salen Primary School, Mull

Hoverfly Meredon equestis, found by pupils at Salen Primary School, Mull

May’s mini-beast of the month goes to this hoverfly Meredon equestris found at Salen Primary School on the Isle of Mull. They do not sting, but mimic bees to avoid predation from birds and other animals that know to avoid these foul-tasting and potentially harmful prey. This true fly can be distinguished from bees due to its large eyes that meet in the centre of the head and its small, stubby antennae. But like bees, hoverflies are important pollinators of many of our native plants.

 

Top teacher comments and tweets

“Children have been looking forward to the visit and we’ve not been disappointed!” Cambusnethan Primary School

“This was a brilliant set up. Well organised, resourced and very friendly and knowledgeable staff”, “Part of the Curriculum of Excellence’s Experiences and Outcomes state that we must compare other cultures with our own. We’ll be looking at wildlife so this is great!” Inveraray Primary School

“It was so active and children totally engaged in the activities! Education officers’ enthusiasm was excellent!” Rhunahaorine Primary School

“Highlighted the need for more local-based, environmental topic work to be included in the curriculum” Castlehill Primary School

“This was a great afternoon for our children who are all now enthusiastic about finding and looking after mini-beasts” Upper Achintore Primary School

Next month – June

Next month is the last of the school year and we continue our journeys north to the Highlands, Harris and Lewis and finishing off in Orkney.

We will also be open to the public at Dawyck Botanics on Saturday 13th June.

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