Stroud – Winners of The Wildlife Trusts’ Watch Group of the Year
Outdoor adventures of young wildlife enthusiasts have been recognised, winning them the accolade of ‘Watch Group of the Year’, from The Wildlife Trusts. Winners of The Wildlife Trusts’ Watch Group of the Year announced
With outstanding efforts to explore and discover the natural world – from daffodil woods to canals and hill tops – Stroud Wildlife Watch group’s adventures have reaped rewards. Den-building, bird-watching, bug-hunting, pond-dipping and tree-climbing are just a handful of the activities the group undertook at various locations across Gloucestershire.
Leader Jane Bolton was thrilled to hear the judges agreed her group beat tough competition from 300 other groups all around the UK. She said: “I am absolutely delighted for the lovely children of Stroud Wildlife Watch group. They really deserve this award.
Stroud Wildlife Watch Group, based in Gloucestershire, picked up top spot for 2012, after enjoying joint third place for 2011.
Jane added: “As we came joint third last year, to improve and come first is an amazing achievement. We are so proud! We have actively explored Gloucestershire over the past 12 months and all of the children regularly astonish me with their enthusiasm for wildlife.”
The winning group is presented with a special trophy and £50 in gardening vouchers, with £25 going to the best new group. Runners-up receive £20 in garden vouchers, and all winners get a certificate, signed by Chris Packham.
Chris Packham, passionate conservationist and The Wildlife Trusts’ Vice President, said: “There are many endangered species in the UK countryside but none more so than the young naturalist. That’s why it is so exciting to celebrate this Watch group’s success. Here are young people who have engaged with wildlife, developed a deeper understanding of their environment and, hopefully, had a lifelong passion ignited by the simple beauty of nature. Superb! Well done!”
Sadie McGlone, one of The Wildlife Trusts’ judges, said: “We found it heartening that all our Wildlife Watch groups chose to spend most of their meetings outdoors, enjoying and experiencing wild places, no matter what the weather. This is particularly impressive with the downpours we witnessed throughout 2012!
“Stroud Wildlife Watch group looks like so much fun. We liked the way that they mixed structured wildlife activities with walks and opportunities to play and do their own thing, such as making coat stretchers and climbing trees. Learning and doing are the key ingredients of Wildlife Watch and this group is brilliant at both. Its programme of activities for 2012 was varied, fun and got them outdoors. We’re delighted to celebrate their success, which will lead to a long-lasting, and rewarding, relationship with the natural environment. Their enthusiasm, and the stewardship they show towards nature, serves as an inspiration to us all.”
Stroud Wildlife Watch Group meets each month. It is run by Watch Leaders and volunteers for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Jane Bolton, Val Box and Emma Corfield. Parents attend with their children. Adventures enjoyed throughout 2012 include wassailing in a young fruit orchard which the group helped plant two years ago at Thistledown Environmental Centre in the Cotswolds; walking through the famous daffodil woods of Dymock; pond-dipping and searching for dragonflies in Saul and along the river Frome; delving into Jurassic history and fossil-hunting at Breakheart Quarry near Dursley, and searching – with success – for the elusive fly agaric fungi on the Gloucestershire landmark, May Hill.
Members explain what they enjoy about being part of the award-winning Stroud Wildlife Watch Group:
· Rowenna (9): “We learn about wildlife in the local area, and I like getting stuck in. I
enjoy having fun with the children who go. I feel like I’m having fun while learning.”
· Stella (7): “I love the outside and animals and friends.”
· Tom (8): “I like the things like wassailing that we do, and its fun because I get to see
lots of animals.”