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…..

Monday 20th June 2016: Lin Townsley Award

The end of our 2015-16 season saw several of our members receive awards for attendance throughout the year. This year also saw a very special award given for the very first time. The Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers’ ‘Lin Townsley Award for Young Person’s Contribution to Nature Conservation’ was awarded to Kat Mayer who has attended the group for many years as a Wildlife Explorer, Phoenix member, Junior Leader and now Assistant Leader. Lin Townsley started the YOC group in Macclesfield 30 years ago and ran the group for 12 years and in 1998 received a print of an avocet as … Click here for more information…..

Monday 20th June 2016: End of Year Party

The end of our 2015-16 season seems to have arrived much too quickly. The season incorporated lots of special events to celebrate 30 years of the group and the End of Year Party was no exception. It started with a fun nature quiz. There were lots of games, silly hats, so much laughter and even a bit of dancing to Nellie the Elephant.           There were lots of Attendance Awards and one very special award made to Leader Kat who will be off to University in Aberystwyth in the Autumn to study Ecology. She received the very first ‘Lin … Click here for more information…..

Friday 29th July 2016: Tegg’s Nose Farm Pond Dip

Wildlife Explorers held a special training event for Phoenix, Leaders and budding Junior Leaders at Tegg’s Nose Farm. Despite a forecast for good weather we were treated to heavy rain showers but this didn’t seem to bother anyone for  such an engaging session. Land Manager Phil explained a bit about the water management at the Farm and the way the ponds and swales feeds into each other. The group then conducted an OPAL water survey looking at how clear the water was, the pH and which creatures we living in the main pond. We found a range of different invertebrates … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 16th July 2016: 30th Birthday Celebration Picnic

Wildlife Explorers had planned a special 30th anniversary event and celebration picnic at Tegg’s Nose Country Park , however, unseasonably wet weather meant the morning of the picnic began with heavy rain and very low cloud. The decision was taken to cancel the prepared bug hunt and stream dip and get on with the most important part of the meeting – eating cake. Leader Susan had baked a fantastic (and delicious) chocolate orange cake, beautifully iced in honour of our celebrations. By coincidence Junior Leader Adam was also celebrating his 17th Birthday – an excuse for a chorus of ‘Happy … Click here for more information…..

Macclesfield Big Bird Box Build Monitoring at Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Site Danes Moss

  Volunteers from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorer’s project The Macclesfield Big Bird Box Box Build revisited Danes Moss as part of the ongoing monitoring of the nest boxes sited there earlier this year.        Everyone was delighted to observe some of the breeding success facilitated by the new boxes. Ringers from South Manchester Ringing group were on hand to ring a family of six pied flycatchers   in one box and a family of six blue tits were observed  in another. Nests where families of tits had already fledged were also recorded. Although specialised boxes erected specifically for willow … Click here for more information…..

May 2016: Macclesfield Big Bird Box Build – Victoria Park

Volunteer Leaders from Wildlife Explorers visited Victoria Park as part of the Macclesfield Big Bird Box Build. The park already had a Tawny Owl box and a couple of tit nest boxes, but there were plenty of sites to add additional nestboxes. The boxes were built by volunteers at a public events and painted at Lime Walk Assessment and Rehabilitation Unit in Macclesfield. Specialist nestboxes for treecreepers were also sited carefully with the hope that these boxes will be used during the next breeding season. The project is funded by a mix of public donations, a crowdfunding campaign and a … Click here for more information…..

June 2016: Phoenix Event – World Worm Charming Championships

Two teams from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers joined a host of Worm charmers from around the globe as they battled it out in the 37th World Worm Charming Championships in Nantwich. The trophy stayed in Willlaston this year as Hope Smith, a year 5 pupil at Willaston Primary Academy, was victorious coaxing an incredible 272 worms from the ground in 30 minutes. Hope won the Championship Trophy, following in her sister Sophie’s footsteps, who won back in 2009 with a world record 567 worms.                                      The two Wildlife Explorer teams had more modest hauls of worms. Plots were inspected by … Click here for more information…..

May 2016: Congleton First Cubs and Beavers

Leaders from Wildlife Explorers ran ‘Saving Nature’ sessions for Congleton First Beaver and Cub  Scouts. After making fabulous bird crafts featuring endangered and iconic bird species, the scouts considered the complex questions facing all conservationists: What are the benefits of Nature? What are the threats to Nature? What can we do to help and make a difference?   The children split into groups to discuss individual questions and had lots of interesting discussions with Leaders before presenting their conclusions. We learned about a whole host of creatures that are endangered but don’t often feature in conservation campaigns to save nature … Click here for more information…..

May 2016: Quinta Reserve Forest School

A group of volunteers from The Macclesfield Big Bird Box Build attending the Cheshire Wildlife Trust Quinta Reserve Forest School Open Day to make nestboxes with children from a visiting school. The reserve is adjacent to another CWT site, Swettenham Meadows, which will benefit from a selection of Big Bird Box Build nestboxes. It was wonderful making nestboxes so close to the setting where they will be installed when they are completed.  Children had lots of fun making the boxes and even had to be dragged away from the workbenches for hot chocolate!    The President of Cheshire Wildlife Trust, … Click here for more information…..