Families from across the Bristol area across the region have been invited to join a series of free wildlife workshops at Wild Place Project to connect them with nature.
The sessions have been made possible thanks to Wild Place Project winning a grant of £10,700 to employ a new ranger to work with families from urban or deprived areas, or families which are less able to access nature.
The new ranger, Hannah Bailey, has now started work at Wild Place, and the first families to take part in the course, called Wild Detectives, visited the attraction this week.
The visit was arranged in collaboration with an inner-city not-for-profit social enterprise organisation called Imayla, which works to provide opportunities to families to improve their health and wellbeing.
A group of 15 children ranging in age from 4 months to 15 years, together with six adults, took part in outdoor activities led by Hannah, including den-building, orienteering and getting to know the attraction.
Throughout their six visits, the families will also help staff from Wild Place Project carry out native wildlife surveys across the site to help collect records about the estate that will feed into conservation work. They will take part in a range of activities that may including bushcraft, building bird boxes, following treasure hunts, planting and pond dipping.
Further Wild Detectives sessions will welcome groups from Bristol Children’s Hospital, Southmead Development Trust and Off The Record – a mental health organisation for young people in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
Rosie Sims, learning officer at Wild Place Project, said the new project had got off to a fantastic start. “Wild Detectives is all about connecting people with nature, inspiring them about the natural world, and improving wellbeing,” she said.
“We want to encourage them to take action to support the conservation of our natural wildlife and habitats. It’s fantastic that we can offer this opportunity to families who haven’t visited before, or wouldn’t normally be able to access the site easily.”
She added: “Our new ranger, Hannah, is experienced working with people, and her training in wildlife conservation makes her a valuable asset to the learning team here at Wild Place. The Wild Detectives project is a new direction for us, and one that we are hoping to continue and develop in the future.”
Hannah added: “I am so excited to be joining Wild Place at the start of this new venture. I’m so pleased to have the opportunity to get out there and help our visitors to explore our beautiful woods and meadows, learn about wildlife – and most of all, have fun!”
The Wild Detectives project has been funded by a Nature Connect grant from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).