Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Bird Box cameras and Koalas!

We already have one nest box with a camera at school and last year we had some blue tits nesting in it. This year, we have just switched our live stream cameras over to the nest box, rather than on the feeders. We have already seen a blue tit looking in, so we are keeping our fingers crossed!

 Ms MacRae bought us another one today... she has got SO many in her garden, that she had this spare one. It is one from Aldi. She has added a little window in the side  to allow more light in for a better image. We plugged it in and had a look on the monitor to check the image.

 Some of us stuck our finger through the entrance hole to see if the others could see it! .... yes!... it was working fine.

 We mounted it up on the side of the school building. It would be great if we had two nest boxes with birds in them!

Our wildlife area is starting to spring into life... the crocuses are out and the daffodils are in bud....

We had also received part of our Woodland Trust ArtVenture competition prize! A big Art Pack (we are going to have a wildlife art session soon with that!) and a book by Richard Shilling, the artist we are going to have a day with. We are still organising that.

Next we set to business working more on our Arkive Competition entry. We have split into groups, as we all wanted to do different animals. One group have decided to do a Koala rap!! They have found out lots about koalas and this week, made some masks!!

Once again, we ran out of time...... we'll have to continue next week .

Potato chitting and Arkive Competition

Time flew last week at Wow! Club as we were pretty busy! Firstly, we had just received all the 'Grow Your Own Potatoes' kit from The Potato Council and we need to get started if we are going to win the competition to grow the biggest crop!!

The kit comes with everything you need.... two varieties of potato, bags to grow them in, labels and leaflets. Here we are with all the bits and pieces, ready to get going!

 We read all about what we have to do and put our potatoes into a tray to allow them to 'chit'... this means that they will start to sprout. We leave them until the second week in March then we plant them into the bags and look after them until June. In June we harvest them and see what weight of potatoes we have grown. We are then going to cook a meal out of them and eat the meal at WOW! Club!

Remember a few weeks ago, we did the Big School Bird Watch? Well the kind people at Nature's Feast were impressed and very kindly sent us some certificates! We were all really pleased with them! THANK YOU Nature's Feast! The birds are loving our Nature's Feast Bird Feeder too... it is the yellow one with sunflower hearts in it.

Since we won the Woodland Trust ArtVenture Competition we are keen to try some more. The Arkive website (wwww.arkive.org) are running a competition all about endangered animals. It is called the 'Creative Climate Change Challenge' We wanted to enter, so we went onto their website and read up about all the species that are in danger and why they are so. We have to come up with an innovative or exciting way to communicate the climate change message to our friends and family. Using any method we want, we have to inspire people to care about climate change using our chosen species as a mascot.

We did some research, ready to carry on at the next WOW! Club.....

Friday, 10 February 2012

Woodlands Trust Tree Pack Arrives!

As part of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, The Woodlands Trust have been offering amazing FREE tree packs to schools. We applied for a hedgerow and copse pack and it arrived last week. WOW! Club unpacked it to take a look at what was in there....


We found that we had 12 of each hawthorn, hazel, holly, dog rose and dogwood, plus a royal oak sapling. All very exciting! The ground was just too hard for us to plant them yet and we need to think about where we are going to put them, so we found a safe, sheltered place out in the wildlife area to keep them until we are ready to plant them all.

As it was so cold, we decided to go on the Woodlands Trust Website, read more about our win in the ARTventure competition and to take a look at all the fun activities on the Nature Detectives part of the site. We discovered that there were some quizzes and we all had a go at them. We loved that we could print ourselves a certificate when we had answered all the questions correctly!!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

We WIN!!!!!

You may remember that just before Christmas, WOW! Club entered the Woodland Trust, Nature Detectives Artventure competition. The idea was that you produced a piece of outdoor art. Wow! Club used a selection of materials gathered from the school grounds, to create a SUPERB collage of a robin. We were all thrilled with it and we sent it off to the competition.

This week we heard that we had WON the hotly contended Schools and Groups Category!!

As you can imagine, we are all very excited.

See the results on the Woodlands Trust website HERE

We have won:

  • A masterclass in outdoor art with land artist Richard Shilling at a Woodland Trust wood (located in the North of England)

  • A copy of the book Land Art in the Woods

  • One year’s membership to the Nature Detectives CLUB

  • A DisneyStore Toy Story Jumbo Art Pack

  • There will be more about this competition, our prize and our day out here on our blog and on Ms MacRae's website at www.wildlifekate.co.uk

    Friday, 3 February 2012

    Barn Owl Pellet Experience

    This wee, at WOW! Club, we had a go at dissecting some barn owl pellets. Some had come all the way from Heligan in Cornwall. AT Heligan, they have barn owls nesting in a nest box in an old derelict barn and they also have a live camera on the owls. You can watch them at http://www.heliganwild.com/webcams. You may see some pellets in the nest box. Others are shed into the barn and collected. Sam made a film about his barn owls at Heligan and you can see it on YouTube HERE

    Some of the other pellets came from the Staffs Barn Owl Action group. A big thank you to Helen and Sam for sending them to us.

    We learnt that barn owls hunt over fields where their prey live. One of their favourite prey is field voles which live in the long grass. The Barn owl captures its prey with its talons and then swallows its prey whole. Their stomachs break down the vole, absorbing all the goodness from it. There are bits left that their bodies cannot absorb... the bones and the fur. The owl 'spits' out all these bits in a little package called a pellet. These pellets are amazing as they tell us all about what the owl has been eating. This, in turn, tells us about the small mammals that live in the area and how healthy the habitat is.

    We had soaked the pellets in disinfectant and then used some BBQ skewers to help us tease the pellets apart so we could see what our owls had been eating. It was amazing! We found all sorts of bones and skulls. Some of us had three of four skulls in one pellet.... meaning the owl had been a really successful hunter! !This also tells us that the habitat is a healthy one, supporting lots of small mammals which, in turn, become food for the top predator, our barn owl!

    Here we are... completely engrossed!....

    We really enjoyed dissecting the pellets and looking at them under our little microscope. We learnt loads!