Accolades awarded for outdoor adventures

Friday 14th March 2014

Watch Group of the Year 2013 - WOW Worcestershire WT

Winners of The Wildlife Trusts’ Watch Group of the Year 2013 announced

The simple, easy to take for granted connections that the Watch groups make between people and nature are quite simply - essential.

Outdoor adventures of young wildlife enthusiasts have been recognised, winning them the accolade of ‘Watch Group of the Year 2013’, from The Wildlife Trusts.

Outstanding efforts to explore and discover the natural world have reaped rewards for the ‘Watch Out Wednesdays’ group.  A jam-packed programme of activities wowed the judges, with many adventures requested by the children.  Pond-dipping, bird box-building, snake-egg-spotting, tree-climbing, campfire-cooking and field visits are just a handful of the activities the group undertook at various locations across Worcestershire.

Watch Out Wednesdays picked up top spot for 2013, after enjoying joint third place for 2012.  The group meets once a month for an hour and a half in the evening and the children who attend are aged between 5 and 11 years old.  Throughout 2013, the children visited poppy fields, cooked worm bread on the campfire and discovered the circle of life.  They got up close to slow worms, hunted for grasshoppers and measured how far they could jump, made woodland musical instruments and discovered real life wildlife adventures through the medium of drama! The group got kept down to earth when it went on a micro-hike to look really closely - through magnifying glasses - at the tiny things below our feet.

Leader Heather Bainbridge was thrilled to hear the judges agreed her group beat tough competition from other groups all around the UK. She said:

“We were delighted to be in joint third position last year and so to be awarded the top award this year is a fabulous.  We are so proud!  We have actively explored Worcestershire over the past 12 months and all of the children regularly astonish me with their enthusiasm for wildlife.

Heather added: “I love being a Watch leader – I can share my passion for wildlife with young people but I also learn so much from the children themselves.”

Nick Baker

The winning group is presented with a special trophy and £50, with £25 going to the best new group.  Runners-up receive £20, and all winners get a certificate, signed by Nick Baker.

Nick Baker, passionate conservationist and The Wildlife Trusts’ Vice President, said:

“Wow you've been up to loads of good stuff with your Wildlife Watch groups! Which is not only fantastic for all those young people involved it is a sound and wise investment in the future health of not only those young Watch members (and the leaders and volunteers that make it all happen too!) but also to the future and health of our environment.

"Just the simple, easy to take for granted connections that the Watch groups make between people and nature are quite simply - essential.  So keep up the good work, you're making a huge difference right now!"

Sadie McGlone, one of The Wildlife Trusts’ judges, said:

“We’d like to say a big thank you to all the groups who entered.  It was an absolute pleasure to look through the yearbooks and be genuinely inspired by all the amazing work being done for children, young people and wildlife.  In a world where children are  increasingly spending more time indoors, it is heartening to see so many children getting out there, having fun and learning about wildlife.”

I’ve learned so much from this group and always look forward to the next meeting

Members explain what they enjoy about being part of the award-winning group:

  • Isabel Faith Jones (8), of Droitwich Spa: “Our Watch our Wednesdays are so much fun – we get to do so many amazing wildlife activities. I’ve learned so much from this group and always look forward to the next meeting.”
  • Anjuna Duke (8), of Worcester: “We don’t like WoW, we love it! It’s learning all about wildlife in a fun way all year long.”
  • Martha Davey (7), of Grafton Flyford:  “We get to do fun things outdoors; there’s lots of creativity. There are great habitats – orchards, ponds and grasslands - to explore at Lower Smite Farm.”

Judith Ross, parent (of Oddingley), said:

"Of all the many activities our children have participated in, Wildlife Watch is definitely one of the best.  It is simple, fresh, varied, often muddy and excellent value for money.  But most of all, it inspires the children and helps them value the environment around them.”

Hardwick bug hotel

Hardwick Wildlife Watch Group, a joint Wildlife Trust and National Trust-run group based in Derbyshire scooped second place in this year’s competition.   One parent said: “My daughter has been attending the Watch Group now for a long period of time and the group has introduced her to all aspects of wildlife and outdoor activities.  She has been able to learn a great deal and the variety of the workshops has enabled her to understand more of the great outdoors, animals and nature. This group is an inspiration!”

Last year’s winners, Stroud Wildlife Watch group from Gloucestershire, and North Berwick Wildlife Watch group from Scotland came in at joint third place.

The award for the Best New Group went to Mansfield and Ashfield Watch Group from Nottinghamshire. The group started to meet in October 2012 and now attracts 15-20 regular members.  During the year they have taken part in activities such as sowing wildflower seeds with balloons, litter picking, hibernating hot potatoes, painting eggs to resemble wild bird eggs and enjoying a visit from some real life owls. They built dens, visited a heath and discovered dragonflies and bees. Some have also completed their Wildlife Watch Hedgehog awards.

Mansfield & Ashfield Best New Group

Amongst the people to congratulate the group on its success was the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Mansfield and Ashfield Local Group Chair, Shlomo Dowen.  He said:

“It is the young people who come along to these activities who are the real winners. Mansfield and Ashfield folk are very fortunate that such opportunities are available, affordable and accessible. The Local Wildlife Group is grateful to everyone whose voluntary efforts have made this Wildlife Watch Group so successful.”

The runner’s up in the Best New Group were Newcastleton Wildlife Watch Group from Scotland.  This group, which meets every week, gets outside no matter what the weather - and even built their own shelter in the woods in which to hold their meetings.  Group members are taking part in the John Muir Award and take part in lots of forest school type activities.  Brackenhurst group from Nottinghamshire is Highly Commended and both Skelton Squirrels from Cumbria and East Carlton, from Northamptonshire, are Commended by the judges.

Wildlife Watch is The Wildlife Trusts’ branch for its junior members, who receive four copies of Wildlife Watch magazine every year, a membership pack, and access to events and activities. To find out more about Wildlife Watch and how to join, visit wildlifewatch.org.uk. Wildlife Watch groups are run across the UK by local Wildlife Trusts. To find your local group visit: wildlifewatch.org.uk/Where-you-live. Ideas for indoor and outdoor activities, for children of all ages, are available to download from http://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/Activity-Sheets


Watch Group of the Year 2013

First place

  • WOW (Watch Out Wednesdays (Worcestershire Wildlife Trust)

Second place

  • Hardwick Wildlife Watch Group (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)

Joint third place

  • North Berwick Wildlife Watch Club (Scottish WT)
  • Stroud Wildlife Watch Group (Gloucestershire WT)

Highly Commended

  • Brackenhurst Wildlife Watch group (Nottinghamshire WT)

Commended

  • Skelton Squirrels (Cumbria WT)
  • East Carlton Wildlife Watch Group (Beds, Cambs & Northants WT)

Best New Wildlife Watch Group Winner

  • Mansfield & Ashfield Wildlife Watch Group (Nottinghamshire WT)

Runner Up (Best New Group)

  • Newcastleton Wildlife Watch Group (Scottish WT)

Wildlife Watch www.wildlifewatch.org.uk 

Wildlife Watch is the junior branch of The Wildlife Trusts.  Watch encourages and nurtures young people’s interest in wildlife and the environment by creating learning opportunities, and inspiring personal participation and celebration.

We have 150,000 subscribing members around the UK and support a network of adult volunteers working with young people, including running groups, and a large number of subscribing schools and educators.

Wildlife Watch groups are run by teams of adult volunteers supported by their local Wildlife Trust and some central resource.  Groups encourage member contribution at all levels and operate according to guidelines designed to ensure young members can enjoy experiencing their natural world whilst remaining safe from harm.

Tagged with: Wildlife Watch