Projects

Projects are activities which, like a Banyon Tree, need a bit of time to grow. For instance they might take a day or two, or they might run for weeks – for example, keeping a log of birds at your bird feeder. Some projects may have been posted before coronavirus restrictions tightened, so always check before starting that the project is safe to undertake. We’ll be adding new projects as the coronavirus lockdown progresses.

Featured Project

Make your own vegetable garden

Vegetable Garden

Growing your own food is enormous fun, and if you have a garden the lock down shouldn’t stop you. Even if you didn’t buy seeds before the lockdown, you can likely get them in the supermarket with your weekly shop. Brendan Smith’s specially written guide tells you exactly what you need to do to grow onions, potatoes and lettuces.

Download the full instructions: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Food in March/April

All Projects

  • Herbology Hunt

    This post isn’t about one of our self-designed activities. Herbology Hunt is an initiative from the Wild Flower Society supported by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland.

    Each month, Herbology Hunt gives you five wild flowers to find that are common in both Britain and Ireland. This month, you have to find Rosebay Willow Herb, Cock’s Foot, Honeysuckle, Foxglove and Field Forget-me-not.

    I’ve pasted this month’s spotter sheet below, but for full details, and to download the sheets for other months, head over to the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland website: https://bsbi.org/herbology-hunt

    The initiative has been running a while, and you can no longer get the free hand lens or t-shirt by spotting enough plants, but this is still a great activity, because all the plants are really common and easy to identify so this is great to get younger kids inspired.

  • Mammal Detective

    Today’s activity is by my fabulous colleague Dr Colin Lawton who is our departmental mammal expert. Colin spends lots of time monitoring mammal populations and really knows how to recognise a mammal from the signs they leave behind. Burrows, droppings, paw prints and more – Colin is a true mammal detective. He’s made a pdf to tell you how to do it!

  • Seashore Bingo

    Play seashore bingo on a day out at the sea side! Hunt in rock pools and on the strand line and see if you can complete a row or even the whole grid. If you’re not close enough to the coast to do this, why not play our Tree Bingo instead?

  • 2 Minute Beach Clean

    I saw this terrible video on Twitter last week of a machine that was designed to ‘clean beaches’. It basically scooped up 6 inches of sand and everything on top of it and sieved it through a fine mesh to leave nice clean sand. I wanted to scream “What about all the little animals!”. Yes, folks, that lovely sand is full of little critters, and lots of our gorgeous shore birds like those little critters for their tea. The only way to clean a beach is by hand. So this weekend, why not do a 2 minute beach clean. Not convinced? You will be – watch this:

    So how do you do a 2 minute beach clean? Simple, pick up litter for 2 minutes. Take a snap of what you found, and post it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #2minutebeachclean. Take care you don’t touch sharp objects and always wash your hands with soap or take hand sanitiser with you.

    If you want to get more involved with caring for your local beach, then check out the Clean Coasts Website: https://cleancoasts.org. The 2MinuteBeachClean is their initiative. They’ll show you how to join a regular beach clean, or organise your own beach cleaning group, and you too can become an ocean hero.

  • Practice Leave No Trace

    Below are seven tips to encourage the kids in your life to practice Leave No Trace.

    1. Know Before You Go. Kids have few choices in life; therefore, finding opportunities to give choice helps build buy-in and confidence. When planning an outdoor adventure, gain kids’ input. Have them research the weather forecast and plan the best clothing to wear, provide trail choices within their ability, and allow them to choose their lunch and snack food.
    2. Choose the Right Path. Play a game of “ninjas and detectives.” Encourage children’s imaginations while guiding their powers of awareness and conscious foot-stepping with the power of role-playing. Ask them to pretend they are ninjas or spies—or any characters that require them to observe their surroundings without leaving “clues” as to where they have been. Parents can play “detective” to follow the ninjas’ trails as they attempt to remain unseen and unheard.
    3. Trash Your Rubbish. Play “I spy” with rubbish by creating a competition among kids (or between kids and parents) to see who can collect the most litter. This activity gets kids thinking about the accumulation of rubbish and its impact on parks and communities. Ensure you use gloves and do not collect any PPE or briken glass. See can you guess how long the different items take to break down.
    4. Respect Wildlife. Kids are naturally fascinated by animals they encounter outside, often wanting to touch or get close to them. Help them to understand how close they can safely be from an animal by asking them to stand with one arm raised straight out at shoulder height with their thumb up. Ask them to look at the animal with one eye closed and try to cover it with their thumbs. If they are far enough away, their thumbs will completely block sight of the animal.
    5. Minimise the risk of fire. When camping, play a firewood relay race. Create groups of two or more (or have a competition between children and parents). The objective is to gather dead and downed firewood of appropriate size. Once retrieved, sequence the firewood from smallest to largest in diameter. Any firewood larger than kids’ wrists are disqualified. The team with the most appropriate firewood wins. Finish this game by explaining that firewood should be no larger in diameter because it takes too long to burn into ash, hindering the decomposition process.
    6. Leave What You Find. Give kids a camera to take photos of treasures they find on the trail. Use a photo collage application, such as PhotoLab, to encourage creativity and save and share their outdoor adventures. This reinforces that they can keep the memory while leaving the objects themselves in nature.
    7. Be Considerate of Others. Encourage kids to be inclusive and polite when playing outdoors. Model and teach good manners, such as sharing the trail with others, and avoid bad behaviours, such as talking on phones while exploring.

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