Famous naturalist helps Leicester school children get to grips with nature

Children from five Leicester schools met well-known naturalist and TV presenter Nick Baker yesterday, as part of a special event arranged by Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.

Organised to celebrate the Trust’s Wild Forest School project, the afternoon saw more than 60 children enjoy a variety of fun outdoor activities. Nick led the children, who were aged between 4 and 11, on a minibeast hunt, and wowed them with some fascinating facts about the bugs and invertebrates that they found. The children also took part in a range of natural crafts, including leaf collages and making minibeast models out of wood.

The event took place at Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust’s Lucas’ Marsh nature reserve in Oadby, where the youngsters were able to explore woods, grassland, hedgerows and marshland, all within a stone’s throw of the city. Pupils from Mayflower Primary, Avenue Primary, Eyres Monsell Primary, Abbey Community Primary and Merrydale Infant School, all attended the outing.

Wild Forest School aims to engage children in urban areas, where chances to explore nature may be limited, and show them how they can enjoy the natural world in their local environment.

Nick commented: “The Wild Forest School project gives local children important opportunities to play and learn away from the classroom. It’s been wonderful to see how excited and enthusiastic they all are about wildlife, and to hear how much they enjoy their Forest School sessions. Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust is doing some brilliant work through this initiative.”

Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust has been able to expand its Forest School programme this year, thanks to generous support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. This additional funding has allowed the Trust to bring its Wild Forest School sessions to 10 local primary schools, as well as preschool and home-educated groups.

Martha Rose, education officer at Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust said: “Without the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery, yesterday’s event and many of our regular activities just wouldn’t be possible. The Wild Forest School programme has been making a real difference for children across Leicester, allowing them to get outdoors and learn about the natural world.”