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Watch Award Heroes

Credits: Emma Bradshaw

We know that lots of you have been busy taking part in our Wildlife Watch award schemes: completing activities and challenges based on nature and wildlife and earning cool certificates and awesome badges to show off what an expert you really are (click here to find out more about the awards).  But if you've not given the awards a try yet, or if you would like help to spark some ideas, we have gathered up some examples of the work that children have been doing to complete their Kestrel or Nature Ranger Awards.


Read on to see what fun is involved and you never you know, it might leave you feeling inspired to take on your own challenge!


It's time to meet the new experts on the block.......


Nathan - Newt Expert

Nathan Bach, Wildlife Watch member at Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust is a massive enthusiast of the great crested newt. Nathan used his passion for the beloved amphibian to complete his Kestrel Award.


Starting by writing poems for his Wildlife Watch local newsletter, Nathan soon became engaged in many activities based on his affection of the great crested newt including painting, surveying, pond making and the creation of a stop motion animation.


To document all his wildlife activities and sightings Nathan created his own online blog where he wrote about the wildlife along his local canal and how this changed over the seasons. 


On completion of his Kestrel Award Nathan carried out a presentation to his classmates which included newt shaped biscuits, a practical activity of making bird feeders and a word search. Following on from his presentation, Nathan sent out a letter to many wildlife enthusiasts showing his hard work towards the great crested newt. Excitingly, Nathan received responses from Chris Packham, David Attenborough, Clarence House and Guy Thompson! Since then, Nathan has been invited to the Natural History Museum to meet their amphibian curator Dr Clarke to take a look at some of their specimens. How exciting!


Nathan says, “I enjoyed every single thing I did for my Kestrel Award but definitely the best thing was going on the Great Crested Newt survey with Laura and Neill from the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. It was probably the best thing I have ever done because I'm mad about Great Crested Newts!”



Robert the snail hunter

As part of his Kestrel Award, Robert Reed, Wildlife Watch member at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, decided to record and learn about the snails in his garden. Robert captured snails, marked different numbers onto their shells with tippex, and then released them.  By recapturing and releasing them, Robert began to understand lots of exciting snail behaviours. He learnt how far they travelled, how the weather affected them and the different types of species in his garden.


In total, Robert discovered four different types of snail: common, banded, glass and strawberry. Robert photographed and measured each snail that he found and he recorded their movements by using charts based upon their numbers. Over time, Robert began noticing patterns: number 20 for example, was always in the pot by the back door at 9pm.


Although Robert has completed his Kestrel award, his passion and intrigue for snails continues. In the summer (when the snails return from hibernation), Robert plans to re-capture and measure the snails once more to see if any have grown.


 “I started this project in October 2013 and even though I now have my Kestrel award I will carry on recording the snails.”




Rowena The Habitat Explorer

For her Nature Rangers Award, Rowena Barker, Wildlife Watch member at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, decided to study the different types of habitat and wildlife in her local area around the shore of Emsworth.  Part of her study included a visit to Chichester Harbour – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where she spent her time studying the flora found along its shingle beaches. By looking at teasels, sea kale and houndstongue, Rowena learnt how different species of plant adapt to their harsh habitats.


Rowena also spotted many exciting shoreline treasures which she identified as whelk eggs and moulted crab skins. She discovered that the harbour supported over 14 common seals, and she had fun visiting salt marshes where she learnt about the habitat’s importance for many species including sea lavender, curlew and the oystercatcher.


Rowena was extremely committed during her study, always photographing and writing about the different things she came across. She shared all of her findings with her local Swanwick Wildlife Watch Group, and included mini games and challenges in her presentation. Both of Rowena's sisters, Hester and Florence have also completed their Nature Ranger awards which included fantastic presentations on bees and birds of prey. 






Millie The Wildlife Recorder

Millie Vass, Wildlife Watch member at Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, became the first person in Berkshire to complete her Kestrel Award. Using her passion for wildlife, Millie completed a 6 month nature diary of the wildlife spotted in her garden and her local park. Always finding new and creative ways to record her information, Millie photographed, pressed flowers, drew maps, painted and dissected flowers.


For her 8th birthday, Millie encouraged her friends to go on a nature trail – following a map that she had created. Afterwards, she inspired her friends to design their own nature gardens while they enjoyed munching on her homemade chocolate button hedgehog cake.


Millie’s passion for the environment didn’t stop there. After reading an article about hedgehogs getting stuck in crisp packets, she wrote to her local council asking if they could put in a bin in the alley near her school, which they successfully supplied.


Putting far more work into the award than was expected, Millie also spent her time making a mole collage composed from recycled fabrics, helped to plant 8,000 daffodil bulbs and tree seedlings in Winnersh Meadows, took part litter picking in her local area and even embraced nature themed poetry! Woah! Well done Millie!  




Deborah The Woodland Designer

Deborah is one of four Nature Ranger Award winners at Alderney Wildlife Trust.  Passionate about wild areas on the island, Deborah chose to study the new Community Woodland for her Nature Ranger award.  The islanders have planted the woodland in recent years to replace trees lost during the German Occupation of Alderney.  Her main subject was 'Milly's Wood', which is the family part of this complex, and which she herself designed. On completion, Deborah presented her work to a live audience - with musical accompaniment! What a lot of fun!


Now she's completed her award, Deborah runs Alderney's Wildlife Watch group committee, and edits the group's entertaining newsletter Watch Out! 


Deborah says, “I hope Milly’s Wood will be a place for everyone to enjoy, particularly children."




Safiyah The Owl Expert

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust was delighted to congratulate Wildlife Watch member Safiyah Mahmood on the successful completion of her Nature Ranger Award. To complete this, Safiyah chose to study owls producing both a paper and PowerPoint report. She documented what she had learnt over previous months, describing the habits of a number of different owl species including long and short eared, barn, tawny and little owls.


Safiyah also dissected owl pellets to find out what the nocturnal hunters feed on, and found within her pellet the bones and skull of a mouse.


To learn more about these majestic birds, Safiyah visited a bird of prey centre at her local park and saw a barn and tawny owl up close. Here, Safiyah discovered many new things including that 'owls can be trained to fly to their owner and that they are clever birds.'


Safiyah says, “I really enjoyed doing my Nature Ranger Award because I was able to find out about owls. I really love birds!”


Like all the Nature Ranger award winners, Safiyah received a certificate signed by Chris Packham, an embroidered badge and a special rucksack. Well done Safiyah!


If you are feeling inspired and you would like to have a go at one of our awards, visit our Wildlife Watch awards page to find out how to get started!