Going Wild about Scotland through September!
October 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
It’s been another great month on board the Wild about Scotland bus, visiting schools in the Highlands, Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, Falkirk, Fife, the Borders, Aberdeen and North Ayrshire – including the Isles of Cumbrae and Arran!
A highlight for us was seeing the fantastic wildlife garden at Maddiston Primary, which pupils and staff had worked hard over a number of years to create. The pupils really enjoyed getting out and exploring this area and we had one of the most diverse collections of mini-beasts yet!
As well as visiting schools we were invited to attend Aberdeen Tech Fest. This festival celebrates all things science, from maths and engineering to wildlife and the weather. We were a part of their primary programme, with over 300 pupils from 13 different schools across Aberdeenshire taking part in our workshops on beavers, Scottish wildcats and endangered animals.
We also took part in the Explorathon ‘15 activities at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, spreading the word about RZSS’s native species conservation projects. Explorathon is a country-wide event that celebrates European scientists and engages members of the public with their research. RZSS Edinburgh Zoo hosted scientists from Heriot-Watt University and we were joined by Oly Hemmings, Education Officer for the Scottish Beaver Trial. A fantastic event for all ages to get excited about and get involved in cutting-edge scientific research!
September brought our first ferry trips of the new school year – to Cumbrae and then to Arran. Unfortunately our bus couldn’t go on the small Cumbrae ferry, but the primary school welcomed us into their classrooms for sessions on mini-beasts and endangered animals. We also met up with staff from the Field Studies Council (FSC), who recently took over the Millport field station. They showed us around their fantastic new eco-friendly buildings and we even saw a basking shark swim by! Pupils from five primary schools came on board our bus on Arran. We enjoyed the spectacular scenery and despite some heavy fog and cancelled ferries during the week, we managed to make it there and back on time.
See you next month,
Jamie and Lindsay
Brodie’s mini-beast of the month for September is this dung beetle, spotted in Glen Affric. There are over 40 dung beetles native to Britain and they play a vital role in recycling animal dung. By feeding on dung, tunnelling and breeding in dung and burying it they help to break it down and speed up decomposition. The use of livestock wormers and parasiticides, which are toxic to dung beetles, has contributed to their recent decline. Their contribution to the US cattle industry is estimated at over $380 million each year and studies are currently being carried out in the UK to understand their value here.
Top teacher comments and Tweets
“Excellent use of specialist people who can show how their education/training has a practical use for the pupils” GlenUrquhart Primary
“Lots of Scottish Experiences and Outcomes in the curriculum, so good to go over in this interactive way” Marybank Primary
“The session was excellent, well prepared and organised. Session was very active and kept the children focussed” St Constantine’s Primary
“The children loved the whole experience! Very enthusiastic! They loved the mini-beast hunt and the hands on activities. I could tell they were all really involved” Denholm Primary
“A fabulous project that I would definitely recommend. The children at St Mark’s absolutely loved it!” St Mark’s Primary
“The resources at the stations were all excellent (quality and relevance). The staff- answering questions, discussions! Fab!” Castleton Primary
Next month- October
Next month we continue to spread the word about Scotland’s amazing wildlife visiting schools across the Central Belt and Angus. During the half term week (beginning Monday 12 October) we will be open to the public at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, with fun activities for all the family.