Nature Study

Aren’t you lucky? I am a blog-addict again (don’t get used to it I will soon get too busy again!!)
Today we had SUCH an exciting day. As you will know if you have been reading my blog for a little while, the kids and I have been trying to create a wildlife garden. We live in a new build property and the garden is a hill so steep it’s hard to climb up it but we’ve been planting pretty weeds, shrubs, any plants anyone will give us, strawberries etc and today…… (drumroll)

we found a Violet Ground Beetle!

Now you might think to yourself “So what?!” or “What’s a Violet Ground Beetle?” Well I will tell you! First of all here’s a link so you can look at a decent picture and get some info: violet Ground Beetle.

Our beetle was black and shiny and the stripe around it was a very pale blue/cornfower blue colour and after we caught it and it had sat in the glass with the lid on being drawn (more on that later) it changed colour so it looked very much like the one on the RSPB link. Now we were wondering about why that could be…so I rang the Wildlife Trust. The volunteer was amused by my ringing up about this (I had two reasons for calling though, more on that later) but explained that the beatle was losing moisture hence the colour change…he said we needed to hurry up and get him back in his habitat.

I told the chap where we had found him (under the pink geraniums) and also said we live in a new build property but that we were working hard to populate the garden with all manner of wildlife. He said we should be rather impressed with ourselves as these beetles are usually found in woodland 🙂

Our beetle was HUGE and fast with wriggly legs and he had one leg (front right I think) missing which the children were very interested by.

I will put the pictures on in a moment when I have finished telling you the other reason for my call to the Wildlife Trust… we are members and I met a lady who was promoting membership in the foyer of the co-op. I mentioned Elizabeth’s interest in creepy crawlies and she said we could volunteer for them and be involved with their conservation, planting and other wildlife projects. So I got the children’s name down for that…hopefully I will have more to tell you on that soon.

Ok so back to Mr Beetle.

Here are the pictures of the children’s drawings:

There’s him in his pot!

You wouldn’t believe the problems we had (ok the kids had because I didn’t get near it!!!) getting him out of the (dry) watering can and into the glass. He was climbing back up onto Elizabeth’s arm and each time she deposited him in the glass he would grab onto her gardening glove again! He was then upside down and wriggling his legs like crazy so I very bravely put foil on top of the glass and then we all took turns to try and sort of gently shake the glass so he tipped back up onto his legs again. Eeeeeek!!!!!

So he was the right way up and pretending to be dead in the bottom of the glass so they got drawing!

I will get them to finish off their writing tomorrow morning, we’ve just been writing what the picture is, where we found the subject and when then I will upload their pictures.

Here are some more pages from their nature journals…I am hoping the rest of the schooling (when we introduce it in September) will be as keenly participated with!!!
Oh and before you look at them you might notice that they have been ‘marked’. That’s Paul. If you look at the first picture below, that was our first page in the books: a sycamore seed. Elizabeth didn’t want to do it and she threw a couple of tantrums and made a very half-hearted attempt at the work. I told Paul about this and so he came up with the idea of marking the work for effort and if the child gets an A for effort, they get a sweetie. I liked the plan because it gets him involved and because it rewards effort not attainment. Knowing the children as we do we can easily tell how hard they are trying which means that if they try their best they get the reward. You can see that Elizabeth’s first page (the sycamore) only achieved a C and she didn’t get a sweetie. Everything she has done since has been an A and she has been hugged, praised and rewarded.

This was a ‘self-heal’ flower found outside the ball pool in Bolton. It is Elizabeth’s work.
This is an extra page done by Elizabeth because she wanted to! The picture is of the butterfly that landed on her hand when we were walking around Wardle Reservoir yesterday.
Leon joins in too. This is his sycamore seed. I did the writing at the bottom, obviously but I read it to him so he knows what I wrote.
This is an extra bit of flair from his nibs…a man walking down the street!
This is Leon’s self-heal flower.
This is Leon’s beetle in a jar
Imogen’s beautiful work. She ALWAYS tries her best, bless her. This is the sycamore
This is Imogen’s Self-heal.

I will update with the beetle pictures tomorrow when they finish them off.

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