This year Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers held their annual Tree Dressing meeting at the Peak District National Park Ranger Centre at Trentabank in Macclesfield Forest. This was the result of a last minute venue change due to continuing maintenance work on the reservoir at the bottom of Tegg’s Nose Country Park, however, the Trentabank Education Area proved to be perfectly suited to the event and a very popular venue will everyone taking part.
For Wildlife Explorers Tree Dressing is an opportunity for the group to celebrate the importance of trees and woodland for wildlife and people. Ephemeral clay faces, creatures and patterns are added to the branches and trunks, exploiting the natural shapes and textures of the trees. Explorers often use the natural world for artistic inspiration but folklore, legend, popular culture and festive cheer are all seen as influences on the work produced by the young artists (and their parents).
Only natural materials are used in order that there is no harmful impact on the environment. Explorers gathered leaves, moss, alder cones and twigs to embellish their clay creations. Reindeer were popular seasonal subjects but other creatures such as birds, hedgehogs and invertebrates like woodlice and snails featured in the natural gallery too.
Dyllan Szostakowicz was a worthy winner of the Silly Hat Competition with probably the most colourful entry of the day, beating off stiff competition from a range of unusual wildlife-themed and seasonal head gear. Explorer Grace Carter was the runner-up with a rather fetching cow hat.
(Special mention should also be made of Leader Abercrombie’s splendid Chicken creation).
Group Leader Martin James said, ‘I was very disappointed not to win the Silly Hat Competition but at the end of the day the best won!’
Group Leader Tina Hanak added, ‘It was very kind of Peak District National Park to welcome us here at the Education Area at Trentabank at such short notice. We have had a wonderful time and look forward to returning to the site on many future occasions’.
Wildlife Explorers would like to wish all of our members and their families and all of our supporters a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.