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SOMERSET WILDLIFE TRUST Column 2014/3: Young people

What’s your first memory of nature? Feeding the ducks in the park, perhaps;

exploring a rockpool on a summer holiday; skipping through piles of leaves in

an autumn wood; building a snowman? Whatever it is, the chances are that

as you recall it now, it reminds you of a happy, carefree childhood.

Many of us have kept our love of nature

Risky Play

Andy Kirkpatrick - acclaimed mountaineer, author and stand-up - challenges us to let our children be exposed to greater risk. He argues that we shouldn't be wrapping up children in cotton wool, that children will naturally seek out risky, challenging, scary experiences and that by over-protecting them we might just be encouraging them to seek out much more dangerous situations.

Brilliant books for Wild Things

Outdoor activities are top of the list when the sun is shining. But what’s the best way to encourage wild-child behaviour in wintery weather?

Luckily November is National Non-Fiction Month – the perfect time to track down books that inspire adventures in the real world. Here are five of my family’s favourites.

Even baby wild things will enjoy Joelle Jolivet’s brilliant

Wild Winter: What Animals Can You Spot?

It may be cold and raining out, but that doesn’t have to stop you from getting out there and discovering the countryside. If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise – plenty of wildlife!

Many animals will hibernate throughout the cold weather months, but not all. Here are some animals you may see, while out

Greetings Fellow Wild Things

We’re on a mission to make towns across the country go wild! We reckon that our town, like many throughout the land, has an array of hidden wild gems; underused woodlands and meadows, right within the urban sprawl. You’ll find a few kids in the designated play areas, but rarely do you find these fledgling humanoids in the wild spaces.


A message from Play Again Film - our friends in the US

It is a rare treat when we are able to collaborate with other social issue filmmakers. We are often strapped for time and funds and working hard to get our own films in front of audiences. But once in awhile we discover a complementary project, and a collision of visions occurs that deepens our contribution to the movements we are

Off we go... to Canada!

We’ve been planning excitedly for the last couple of months and finally, the time has come – this week we are heading overseas to Canada for some Project Wild Thing activity!

After touring alone for the last year, we (Ash and David) are now heading off on our first wild trip together to the land of ultimate wildlife and meter

Natural Estates

One of the most discussed scenes in Project Wild Thing is shows a ten year old boy, Mason, leading David Bond around what many would describe as a ‘typical’ housing estate. I have to admit, this scene made me quite angry with the film. Of course, the conditions it depicts; a surfeit of grey over green providing little or no

Going Batty at Hardwick

There’s something about bats. Love them or loth them there is no doubting

they spark everyone’s imagination. Usually around this time of year our

Wildlife Watch group hold an annual bat walk in an evening. We rope in a

volunteer from the local bat group and head out into the park after dark,

armed with bat detectors and torches.


How to Support Pretend Play and Creative Thinking

Sam Flatman lives with his two children in Bristol. He works at Pentagon Sport, a family-run business that has built and designed playgrounds for the last fifteen years.

“The truth is that play seems to be one of the most advanced methods nature has invented to allow a complex brain to create itself.” ~ Stuart Brown.

While all kinds of play provide

Introducing our new Chair, Nick Stace

I have been asked to Chair the Wild Network, which is a real privilege. I said yes because I am passionately committed to the aim of getting more young people to connect with the outdoors. I also relish the challenges of breaking down barriers and creating positive pathways that reconnect kids with the wonders of the wild. My job is

A word from Mark, Director of The Wild Network

It has been quite a month as we plot the next steps for The Wild Network. My

favourite bit has been speaking with so many of you doing amazing things all

over the country reconnecting our kids with nature and getting them playing

wild and free. I guess it could be easy to get bogged down in the complexity

Party on the wild side

Ever celebrated a birthday in the woods? Jo Rawson, Volunteering and Community Involvement Manager at Hardwick, writes about a new breed of party: the Wild Birthday Party.

This month saw our first ever Wild Birthday Party at Hardwick, and it was such a fantastic success that it most certainly won’t be our last… in fact we already have another one

Walk on the Wild Side This Weekend

Get out into the countryside with your family this weekend! Whatever age your children are, drag them kicking and screaming (if need be) away from iPad, TV and the lures of the digital world.

All children and adults benefit from time spent outdoors in the fresh air. Children love exploring the natural world and finding what nature has to offer. Even

Hi, I'm Mark

Well, what a moment. I'm really excited to able to say I have been given the opportunity to take The Wild Network forward as Director, I can't wait to get stuck in. I want to thank David, The Green Lions, the founder members of the network and everyone involved in creating and starting this movement. My aim now is to