Wildlife education at Poole with Chris Packham

Wildlife blogger Emma Caton joins a trip to show schoolchildren the wonderful array of bird life that can be found near the coastal town of Poole, UK. 

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11 March 2016

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“Two weeks ago, I travelled to Dorset as part of the nature group, A Focus On Nature (AFON), where we teamed up with Birds Of Poole Harbour (BOPH) and Chris Packham.

Together we took 60 Year 4 students from a local primary school around Poole to show them the wonders of the bird life right on their doorstep.

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The BOPH boat we were birdwatching from. © Emma Caton 

The day started off in true British fashion; grey, rainy and cold. However, that didn’t stop us from seeing a huge diversity of wildlife perched on the sandbars and shingle beaches around the harbour.

I can’t remember ever visiting Poole when I was younger, I only remember reading about it during my geography A-Level as a hotspot for species diversity, therefore, I wasn’t too sure about what to expect. But I sure wasn’t disappointed and neither were the kids!

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A couple of keen young birders! © Emma Caton

During the two hour boat trip we saw a whole range of wildlife including spoonbills, avocets, great northern diver, common scoter, black-necked grebe, ringed plover, goldeneye, rock pipit, brent geese, herring and common gull, red-breasted merganser, sandwich tern, spotted redshank, greenshank, green sandpiper, Mediterranean gulls, water pipit, Scandinavian rock pipit, sanderling, great crested grebe, turnstone and a marsh harrier.

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The AFON and Birds of Poole Harbour team with Chris Packham. © Lytchett Matravers Primary School

After the boat trip, and what felt like a well earned cup of tea and fish and chips, we headed back to the classroom where we talked with the kids about the bird life that we saw as well as the importance of keeping our beaches clean!

It was very positive to see that they were already so environmentally aware at such a young age. I only hope that the same can be said for school all across the country.”

Read more great blog posts by Emma Caton, The Zoologist.

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