Wildlife Club has been busy. The students have worked in pairs to research and prepare a PowerPoint on an endangered animal. The individual PowerPoint’s will then be integrated into one presentation to share at assembly with the whole Lower School. Many children do not realise the variety of endangered animals that exist, and we want to help make them more aware.
Then, last week, we had a visit from Natalie who works with Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue. She brought in a 7 week old baby squirrel that she was driving home to her house. During the day, the squirrel stays at Harper Asprey’s Wildlife Rescue centre, but at night the baby needs to go home with someone to be fed every two hours throughout the night. Natalie was kind enough to stop by for a short visit to give us some facts about squirrels, and also about what happens when a baby animal loses its mother. This squirrel was found in the road, and the mother was dead. A person passing by found her and Harper Asprey came and gathered her. Her carers, except to be fed, do not hold the baby. This is to ensure that she does not bond too much with a human.
Natalie did tell us that this squirrel does recognise the smell and sound of the few people who take turns to care for her. When the baby squirrel is not being held to be fed, she is kept warm and cozy in a little cage with a stuffed animal for comfort. She feels secure rolled into a ball in the warmth of a soft towel. When she is a bit older, she will be weaned off the goat’s milk that she is fed, and will be put into a soft release. A soft release is when an animal is allowed to roam freely in a controlled area, until it learns to become independent. Once the animal is no longer dependent on humans for care, it is released permanently into the wild to live a free and happy life.
Natalie let us briefly touch the squirrel softly on the back once she was securely asleep. She never noticed our tiny touch, and we felt a special bond with her. We will check back with Natalie to see how she gets on and how her eventual release goes.
Natalie also informed us that there are bats hibernating in the bat house that we gave to Harper Asprey last spring. We gave them the bat house to introduce rescued bats to this specially built home. When the time of year is right, and the bats are nearly ready to wake up, the house will be fixed into our own large garden at school. This will be a lovely home for the bats to thrive in, and a wonderful addition to our garden.
And lastly, we have all been working hard in our club to create a Design For Change UK project. Design for Changeis a wonderful program that encourages children to design a solution to a problem in their school or community. This is a hands-on change for the better that gives children a chance to actively be a part of designing and leading change. The four-step process to achieve a successful goal is to: Feel, Imagine, Do, Share. No change is too small, for all changes can make a big difference.
The Wildlife members brainstormed in their “Feel” session. Next came the “Imagine” session, and ideas flowed freely between the children. Finally, they came up with a change they felt passionately about making. The change they decided to tackle was the fact that all of the paper in the classroom recycling bins was only used on one side. The children felt that all paper should be used on both sides before ending up in the recycling bin. This would half the paper we ended up recycling in our school. The decision was made to write a letter to distribute to each class to ask that everyone used both sides of their paper. Then, the club asked the Lower School head if they could speak at the next assembly to remind everyone to do this in their classes. Finally, the children made a few colorful posters to hang in the entry hall to the Lower School, as well as the dining room. These posters will help remind everyone to do their part. This took care of the “Do” and “Share.”
In January, our Wildlife Club members will take part in the second Design For Change UK conference held at Ashley Primary School in Walton on Thames. This will be a great day of sharing ideas with other like-minded schools!