Homes for nature

It had been snowing again in Northampton this morning, but the gardeners on Ecton Brook were not deterred. We headed out in our wellies and warm coats to make some little homes for the local wildlife. I am so proud of the gardeners for their work this evening. They all worked so well as a team and their effort and behaviour were outstanding. Well done everyone!












Stop press: Blue tits nesting!

So the children had all headed home for half term and Mrs Robertson and I were just doing some finishing touches in the garden before having to leave it for a week, when to our surprise we spotted a little blue tit going in and out of the bird box above the vegetable garden! I sadly couldn’t get a photo of the blue tit, but here is a picture of the box, and I will attempt to get a picture of the birds when I go back after half term. In the meantime I stocked the bird feeder full of seeds and meal worms so hopefully they will have plenty to eat while we are away. More updates to follow.

Bird box

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.