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Act natural

Visit a nature reserve to find out how you could help make a difference.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • A4 paper
  • Pens or pencils

Find a nature reserve

  • See if you can find a local nature charity site. There are loads about – you may want to check out the RSPB, Canals and Rivers Trust, or Wildlife Trust to help you find one. You could also get in touch with your local authority and ask for their help.
  • Once you’ve found a location that’s happy to host you, and you’ve agreed on a date and time, think about what else you may need to know. For example, will there be toilets? What should people wear – are certain types of shoes unsuitable?

Get ready to go

  1. The person leading the activity should help everyone use the ‘Nature knowledge’ to plan some questions to ask.
  2. The person leading the activity should make sure everyone understands what they’ll need to wear and take with them, for example, closed-toe shoes and a water bottle.

At the reserve

  1. The person leading the activity should remind everyone about how to stay safe. The reserve may have some additional rules. Everyone should listen carefully to any safety guidance they’re given during the trip.
  2. Everyone should ask any questions.
  3. Nature reserves are busy places, so everyone should thank the people who took the time to show them around and answer their questions.

Make a difference

  1. Everyone should think about what they learned about helping the nature reserve. Did they need help with anything in particular?
  2. Everyone could think about how they could get stuck in to help. It could be a physical project like maintaining an area, a promotional project like raising awareness, or a creative project like making habitats or feeding devices.

Reflection

This activity was all about valuing the outdoors. Nature reserves help protect wildlife and habitats that are under threat because of human activity. What did people notice about the reserve with their senses? People may have noticed they could hear things like wind in the leaves, birdsong, and running water. They may have smelled fresh air or different plants, and they may have seen all sorts of different colours and textures. How did people feel when they were in nature? Can they imagine how many thousands of creatures call the nature reserve home, from bigger mammals to tiny insects?

This activity was also about helping the community. What did the nature reserve need help with? How would helping the nature reserve help the community? Nature reserves don’t just give nature a home – they also educate the public, and they’re lovely places to visit. Often, visiting reserves improves people’s wellbeing and reduces stress.

Safety

Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

Animals and insects

Be aware of the risks before interacting with animals. Be aware of anyone with allergies, and make alternative arrangements for them.

Gardening and nature

Everyone must wash their hands after the activity has finished. Wear gloves if needed. Explain how to safely use equipment and set clear boundaries so everyone knows what’s allowed.

Near water

Manage groups carefully when near water. The guidance on activities near water will help you to keep your group safe.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.