Feed the birds

Tuesday 10th December 2013: This week we made fat balls for all the hungry birds that are around at the moment. We melted lard and mixed it with seeds and dried fruit, then put it into plastic cups with pieces of string. Once the lard had cooled in the fridge we cut away the plastic cups and hung the fat balls out in the wooded area. We checked a few days later and they had been completely gobbled up – all that was left was the string! Sadly that’s it for Gardening Club this term, but we will be back after Christmas with lots more fun activities and plans for turning Ecton Brook Bellinge Campus into a wildlife haven.

Would you like to stay at the insect hotel?

Tuesday 3rd December 2013: We began this session by making little signs for our insect hotels on pieces of kindling wood. This was so the insects would know where to stay (and also so the Forest Schools people wouldn’t accidentally throw them away). They looked fab and we took them out into the wooded area. We spent some time choosing locations for them where they wouldn’t be filled with rain water or blown away by strong winds. Hopefully there will be plenty of insects who will appreciate having a cosy place to hibernate.

Oh but it’s cold outside…

Tuesday 26th November 2013: This week we all worked indoors as we were very cold last week. Taking inspiration from the RSPB’s “Homes for Nature” campaign, we created Insect Hotels. These were made by sawing bamboo canes into lengths of about 20 cm. We got 2 litre plastic drink bottles and cut these in half. We then placed the bamboo canes inside so the holes were facing out. The canes need to be tight inside the bottles so we filled the gaps with twigs we found in the wooded area of our campus. They are looking great and we will be placing them out in the woods next week. See Twitter #homesfornature for more ideas of how you can help create shelters for wild little critters.

Digging and planting

Tuesday 19th November 2013: After our hard work clearing last week it was nice to do some planting this week. We had some strawberry plants which had been kindly donated to us, so we put those in carefully at the front of the vegetable patch. We also had a pretty climbing plant to put in against the car park fence. The boys were very enthusiastic about digging the hole for this and I was soon being showered with soil, but it all looked good in the end. Sadly we are too late to plant any winter crops, so we will be retreating inside for some warmer activities until the spring.

Gardening Club begins

Tuesday 12th November 2013: Today was our first Gardening Club session so we were all very excited. We were lucky to have some sunshine, but we still wore our wellies as there had been a lot of rain. The first job was to clear the vegetable patch and trim back the herb garden. Luckily everyone was very enthusiastic and quickly got stuck in. The vegetable patch was soon cleared of the dead plants from the summer time crops and the herb garden looked neat and tidy. We were covered in mud but pleased with all we had achieved.