Some of you will know that we’ve teamed up with EDINA for an exciting competition featuring Digimap for Schools and our #GetOutside champion Steve Backshall. Combining geography, wildlife and photography, it’s a fantastic opportunity for primary school children. Steve tells us more about the competition and about some great British wildlife you could be spotting.
Here is a great chance for you and your school to get involved with Ordnance Survey. We want to encourage children all over Britain to get outside looking for wildlife. You can enter the competition to win a visit from me to your school. All you need to do is start investigating your local wildlife and photograph what you find. Upload what you spot onto a map and send it to us. I’m really excited to see the entries and to meet the winning school. I’ll be able to talk to you all about the wildlife you’ve found and answer any questions you have.
Even though the nights are drawing in, temperatures are dropping and the prospect of long days at the beach have to be packed away until next year, autumn is still a favourite season for many Brits. There’s something about coppery trees, fresh mornings and turning your collar up against the breeze that holds real appeal.
For all the bracing majesty of autumn, though, it can often feel as though there isn’t much to do that hasn’t already been done. Summer holidays and day trips with the family can sometimes leave the feeling that anything worth doing within a reasonable distance has already been covered.
This needn’t be the case, however, as there are numerous activities that are at their best when done in autumn. Here are five such examples that are indeed more autumnal than casseroles, halloween and mittens.
Over 570 million years, the land that we live on and the water that surrounds us has been home to an inconceivable amount of creatures. The majority are sadly extinct – although use of the word ‘sadly’ will depend on how passionate you are about humans being the dominant species on the planet – but their legacy lives on through the fossils we are still uncovering millions of years later, not to mention the evolution of all living species today.
Whether you want to look back in time and discover the fossilised remains of those that came before us, or admire the beauty of today’s wildlife in its natural environment, there are many fantastic locations in the UK for you to set off to. Here are a few of our favourites.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the countryside code – you’ll see frequent reminders to ‘Follow the Countryside Code’ in National Parks, on footpaths and near popular walking areas.
It was originally developed in the 1950’s as the Country Code, which became the Countryside Code in 2004 with some subsequent updates. It’s a series of rules and suggestions to help everyone enjoy the countryside while causing minimum disruption to wildlife, the environment and agriculture.
Here’s the Countryside Code summary:
- Be considerate of others
- Leave gates as you find them and follow paths where possible
- Keep it tidy – ‘leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories’
- Keep dogs under control
- Plan ahead and be prepared
- Follow advice and local signs
Spotting some of the wildlife is one of the main attractions for getting out into the British countryside. Whether it’s something as grand and imposing as a stag, or the decidedly smaller squirrel, getting sight of a wild animal can instantly turn a workaday walk into one that’s very special.
Finding animals isn’t as simple as heading to areas where sightings have been reported and hoping for the best, however. Those who want to really maximise their chances of spotting animals should instead doff their deerstalker hat and do some investigating.
Birdwatching – or birding – is an activity which can be enjoyed by anyone, almost anywhere. With nearly 600 species of bird officially listed in the UK, it wouldn’t be difficult to spend a lifetime learning about them and completing a ‘seen’ checklist. Then, of course, there’s the rest of the world to explore – it is thought that there are almost 10,000 types across the globe.
Some people enjoy the thrill of chasing elusive birds (those who focus on rarer varieties are often known as twitchers), while others find a real sense of satisfaction in simply learning more about the animals which regularly visit their gardens. There are even professional birdwatchers who invest their time in the conservation of these fascinating creatures. Whatever the motivation is, it helps to gain an understanding of some of the most common birds found in the skies, woodlands and gardens of the UK.
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT) is part of the influential UK-wide partnership of 47 Wildlife Trusts and has worked for more than 65 years to protect wildlife and wild places and educate, influence and empower people to conserve wildlife.
Responsible for 95 sites covering in excess of 6300 acres, YWT manages assets within different territories as well as mapping and tracking the ownership of site boundaries and collecting and storing extensive conservation data from surveys. They work with landowners on many conservation projects and mapping plays a key role in the large portion of their activity.
The Trust needed to be able to view and analyse the information they were gathering on a digital map – the data needed to be presented in a comprehensive, visual and geographic nature to fully understand the relationship between the data and the geography.This in turn would help with funding bids, as well as managing projects and memberships.
Today’s guest blog comes from Holly Barber at Simon King Wildlife.
Here in Great Britain we are blessed with a wealth of wildlife. You don’t have to go that far from your front door to encounter it. From the variety of birds that visit your garden, the family of urban foxes that patrol the local area or kingfishers, dippers or perhaps an elusive otter along a local riverbank. This wonderful array of wildlife really is all around us. However, as a recent report from The Wildlife Trusts shows, many species are in decline and as a nation we have the responsibility to do something about that.
Here at Simon King Wildlife we want to help you get closer to the wildlife on your patch and show you how to look after your natural neighbours. This month we have launched our brand new website, www.SimonKingWildlife.com where we will be bringing nature to you.
With our network of live cams you will be offered a peek into the lives of our natural neighbours – from a family of urban foxes in London, a peregrine falcon nest at Charing Cross hospital, or kestrel nesting in a cavity of a house in Somerset to the daily feeding of hundreds of red kites at Gigrin Farm in Wales. Plus the comings and goings on a river bank and a feeding station for badgers and foxes.
For the green-fingered amongst you – you can get seasonal advice on how to make your patch wildlife friendly along with advice on which foods you should put out to attract a variety of garden birds. Over the coming months we will be adding more exciting content to the site that will help you identify what visitors you’ve had in your patch and how you can encourage them to stay.