7th-9th July 2017: Bluedot Festival

Volunteers from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers took part in an unforgettable weekend at Jodrell Bank’s Bluedot Festival 2017. The weekend was an incredible mix of music, science, culture and arts. Based in the Planet Field, the Wildlife Explorers stall featured lots of hands-on activities to engage and inspire families. The Feely boxes were a big hit (despite the odd scream when fingers made contact with the jelly slugs!) and everyone enjoyed matching creatures to their man-made wildlife homes. The skull collection was fascinating for visitors of all ages – an incredible opportunity to compare and contrast the skeletal adaptations of … Click here for more information…..

Monday 15th May 2017: The Sounds of Nature

The penultimate meeting of the season was dedicated to ‘The Sounds of Nature’. At the start of the meeting Explorers designed CD covers for a Wildlife Sounds Greatest Hits CD after selecting their favourite sounds for a wild soundtrack. Birdsong was very popular but lots of other animal noises featured too.      We learned that animals use sound to communicate for lots of different reasons. Sound can be used to make contact with others of the same species, advertise for a mate, beg for food from a parent, act as a warning or declare territory.  The sound quiz was … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 17th June : The Macclesfield Big Bird Box Build Big Bird Race

  Unlike most Wildlife Explorer meetings our last outdoor meeting of the 2016/17 season required some special equipment: sun hats and suntan cream. It was a glorious, sunny day and very, very hot Armed with binoculars, bird books and a couple of birdwatching experts we walked along the River Bollin looking and listening for the largest number of bird species possible. We were hopeful of seeing dipper and even kingfisher and although they didn’t feature on our final bird list we did see a really good selection of different species and had great views of grey heron sunbathing with their … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 7th May 2017 : Dawn Chorus and Barbecue Breakfast

Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers celebrated International Dawn Chorus Day with an early morning walk at local National Trust property Hare Hill. Everyone set their alarms for just a few hours after they went to bed and the Leader team was on site to set up at 5.30am.   Birds sing in the early morning to take advantage of still air conditions in order to attract mates so a group of more than 35 explorers assembled by 6am to begin their Dawn Chorus walk. Leader Martin (for once wearing an ordinary hat) demonstrated the calls of some of the birds we … Click here for more information…..

28th April – 1st May 2017: Wild Weekend Away

Wildlife Explorers and their families undertook a long and sometimes winding journey to the Welsh coastal town of Borth. The weekend started proper with Explorers meeting early on Saturday morning at Ynyslas National Nature Reserve. As well as the beach and remarkable sand dunes of Ynyslas the reserve also includes Cors Fochno, an internationally important peat bog and the  Dyfi Estuary, an internationally important feeding ground for thousands of wading birds.   There was an exceptionally high tide so those who parked on the beach made sure that they were as high up as possible! We assembled at the Visitor … Click here for more information…..

April 2017: ‘ Nature Connections’ Art Exhibition

Children from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers have been working hard to prepare for an exhibition at the Visitor Centre at Tegg’s Nose Country Park. After learning about life in the seas they have interpreted the layers of the deep ocean in collage and have used their knowledge of wildlife and the natural world to create nature-inspired acrostic poems.      The Exhibtion runs until May 3rd 2017. Why not visit the Exhibiton over Easter to see the childrens’ work and pop in to the Tegg’s Nose Tea Room for some delicious refreshments too? … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 25th March 2017: Tittesworth Treasure Hunt

  Wildlife Explorer families gathered for a Treasure Hunt in glorious spring sunshine at Tittesworth Water, a Severn Trent Water site near Leek in the Staffordshire Moorlands.  As well as the fabulous vista of the reservoir itself there were many incredible views of the nearby Roaches. Leaders had secreted clues in a series of natural locations, each identified with a cleverly rhyming riddle. Explorers hunted out the clues and, with only a few hints, found all of them.                     Finally the treasure itself was located, our very own Treasure(r), Tim Wilson, who treated everyone to a … Click here for more information…..

Monday 20th March 2017: A Minibeast Mystery

The March indoor meeting was focussed on the amazing world of minibeasts. Leader Martin explained the extraordinary process of metamorphosis and the incredible features of these tiny invertebrates. We watched a video of the life cycle of a bee seeing the amazing transformation from grub to adult. The craft element of the meeting was completing the undersea woven collages started at the previous meeting. The collages would soon be part of the Tegg’s Nose Country Park exhibition ‘Nature Connections’                                     Teenage RSPB Phoenix members also took part in a special session learning about the differences between native, introduced … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 26th February 2017: Water Management for Wildlife Work Party

Enthusiastic conservation volunteers from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers joined Cheshire East Countryside Ranger Ed Pilkington on the Middlewood Way to help on a water management project to create and maintain important wildlife habitats.  Armed with a variety of tools the group raked drainage ditches clear of choking weed. Wooden planks were used to strengthen the banks and form dams so that areas with deeper water were created. The group were delighted to see that frogs were already gathering and spawning in some of the ditches, meaning that the improvements that were made would have an immediate effect providing safe places … Click here for more information…..

Monday 6th February 2017: Deep Blue Sea

Our indoor meeting for February took place on a night of pouring rain – appropriate for a meeting about lots of water! At the start of this very creative meeting Wildlife Explorers used their imagination to create a fabulous array of acrostic poems – all based on nature and wildlife. Leader Martin made sure he was wearing the correct safety equipment – a wet suit, fins and face mask! – to talk to the group about the different layers in the ocean. He explained how changes in light and importantly pressure alter the communities of organisms at different depths. The … Click here for more information…..

Tuesday 7th February 2017: Home Educators at Jodrell Bank

Volunteer Leaders from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers helped to run a special bird-themed day for home educators at Jodrell Bank Arboretum.  The session focussed on taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, The RSPB’s national citizen science project and the biggest wildlife survey in the world.    The group learned about the work of the RSPB, the methodology for the bird survey, how to identify some common wild birds and how to use binoculars safely. Armed with binoculars, telescopes and identification sheets families explored the Arboretum in gorgeous spring sunshine. After one hour the bird list comprised 18 species including … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 28th January 2017: Big Garden Birdwatch, West Park, Macclesfield

  The weather forecast did not bode well for our Big Garden Birdwatch at West Park in Macclesfield and when the leaders arrived to get setup we wondered if anyone would brave the cold wet weather. We should have had more faith as several brave Wildlife Explorer families joined soon after to take part in the worlds biggest wildlife survey. The Big Garden Birdwatch Survey has been running since 1979 and last year over 519,000 people took part counting 8,262,662 birds. The bank of 35 years worth of data helps us to monitor trends in numbers and understand how birds … Click here for more information…..

Monday 16th January 2017: Brilliant British Birds

The first meeting of 2017 – Brilliant British Birds – focussed on preparing Wildlife Explorers for The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of the month. (28-29th January).      The session started with members using their imaginations to design a bird that would be suited to living in Macclesfield (in the town or surrounding countryside). The result – a pleasing array of brightly plumaged birds ( most of which had waterproof properties!) The group considered how birdwatchers use their senses to identify birds by shape, colour and size and separate species by their different calls.  Then the children learned … Click here for more information…..

Monday 21st November 2016: Wildlife and the Weather

The final Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers meeting of 2016 took place at The Salvation Army Hall on Roe Street. Given the recent storms, fog and frost it was fitting that the theme for the session was ‘Wildlife and the Weather’. As well as considering the ways that wild creatures adapt to cope with extreme weather conditions the group also looked at the differences between short-term weather patterns and the longer-term issue of climate change. The children discussed the current and potential future impact of climate change on the natural world.  Explorers then suggested ways we can all help reduce our … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 4th December 2016: Tree Dressing and Silly Hat Competition

Each year Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers celebrate National Tree Week with a creative afternoon of Tree Dressing celebrating the cultural, historical and ecological importance of trees.  This year the group returned to the woodland at Tegg’s Nose Country Park to create a gallery of clay-based ephemeral artwork made entirely from natural materials. A crisp but sunny afternoon provided ideal conditions for families to get creative. Inspired by nature, mythology and the group’s current community project, The Macclesfield Big Bird Box Build, creations ranged from owls and hedgehogs to nestboxes and even an entire tree.  This year many of the young … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 5th November 2016: Fungi Walk and Leaf Fireworks

Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers enjoyed a very special session at the RSPB Coombes Valley reserve looking for all kinds of fungi . Fungi exist in virtually every habitat on earth and range from simple single-celled organisms to highly complex multi-cellular structures.  We are mainly familiar with the fruiting bodies of fungi that we refer to as mushrooms or toadstools, although these are usually supported by a much larger mycelium, the vegetative part of the fungus, a mass of interwoven filaments growing in the ground or through rotten wood. Leader Martin explained some details about the biology of fungi, how they … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 8th October 2016: Nature Needs You

Young visitors flocked to the annual ‘Nature Needs You’ event organised by  Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers at Tegg’s Nose Country Park. The event showcased a wide range of different activities all aimed at helping garden wildlife through the cold months ahead. With different bird foods and bird feeders to make, wildflower and native seed planting and the construction of homes for solitary bees, there was something for everyone. The group also offered some natural crafts and fun activities like balloon modelling and a Wildlife Explorer Trail around the park.   Visiting families had lots of fun taking positive action to … Click here for more information…..

Monday 17th October 2016: The Kingdom of the Fungi

Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers met in October to discover more about ‘The Kingdom of the Fungi’. The session started with children creating a giant fly agaric collage – each white spot on the red cap of the fungus featuring an environmentally -themed wish for the future composed by each child.   All the Explorers also made little fungi treasure pots to take home, decorated to look like the most exotic toadstools!                Children dissected different types of mushroom to learn more about the structure of the different families of fungi and Leader Martin also demonstrated beautifully how the iconic … Click here for more information…..

Monday 19th September 2016: Natural Athletes – Record Breaking Wildlife

The new Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers season started with a meeting inspired by a summer of Olympic sporting successes. The Natural Athletes meeting focussed on Record Breaking wildlife from around the world.  From the fastest land mammal, the cheetah, to the speediest bird of prey, the peregrine falcon the group learned about some incredible feats of strength and agility. The meeting started with an ingenious  graphic wildlife quiz. Various birds, butterflies and mammals were represented by a combination of shapes and colours. Wildlife Explorers relished the challenge and got far more answers correct than the Leaders did! Leader Martin introduced … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 25th September 2016: Jodrell Bank Working Party

Building on a successful work party last year, volunteers from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers once again joined staff from the Jodrell Bank Arboretum to work on the restoration of a wildlife pond.              The team worked hard to clear the banks of regrowth following the large-scale removal of nettles, brambles and saplings that took place last year around pond, whilst staff members began the second stage of dredging the pond . The project is designed to improve the pond as a wildlife habitat in the longer term and will also contribute to the provision of a nature education resource … Click here for more information…..