Tuesday talk 24th January
The first of this evening’s presentations was by Iain Jones, Headmaster of Menston Primary School. The Society has been partnering the school for some years, supplying advice and funding to help it to encourage its children to learn about nature. The school is fortunate enough to have substantial grounds, and with support from WNS, Iain has overseen the installation of a pond with a dipping platform, where the children enjoy timetabled nature activities. There are raised beds for gardening, and the school has taken part in Menston in Bloom. Willows have been imaginatively woven into a tunnel leading to a secret garden, where children’s imagination can run riot as they engage with the natural environment. Mini-beast habitats and bird boxes have been provided, the latter regularly monitored for nesting activity. Den building is likewise encouraged among the children.
The importance of engaging with nature was a theme which fed into the second presentation, by WNS member Ros Lilley, who in her previous job in education was instrumental in promoting outdoor play. Tonight she was speaking in her capacity as a volunteer for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, outlining its top three thrusts, namely creating living landscapes, securing living seas and getting people involved. Each was illustrated with statistics and beautiful photography. One underwater image was reminiscent of the tropical seas, but was actually taken in the chalk cliffs at Scarborough! The Trust is involved in over 100 reserves, and Ros’s presentation highlighted some recent developments, including work at Spurn Point. The 2016 State of Nature report makes grim reading: nature needs all the help it can get, and Ros ended by urging us to spread the word and support the Wildlife Trusts in their crucial endeavours on behalf of the environment and its precious living things.