On yer marks... get sett... GO!

Forest School is all about getting creative, and sometimes all it takes is a bit of paint and a few tree cookies to teach children about our impact on the natural world.

This term during our Forest School sessions in Manchester the children have been learning some interesting facts about the Wildlife Trusts, and why it is so important to understand that we are all part of nature and everything we do has an impact within the natural environment. In a nutshell we depend on nature and it depends on us!

Around the campfire during snack time it was discussed why everyone should have the opportunity to experience the pleasure of wildlife in their daily lives.

A Forest School class taking part in crafts on a rainy day

To capture the children’s imagination, we identified badgers as the Wildlife Trust’s logo. The black and white striped badger was chosen because it is an iconic species in the UK and our biggest land predator. It is a common species, turning up in gardens, woodland, farmland and grassland.

For fun we asked the children a variety of different interesting facts about badgers. They could run towards the 'yes or no' post in response. The following week I was amazed at the children’s memory recall of all the past week's badger facts. The popular ones were:

  • Badgers are mammals and can climb and swim.
  • They have poor eyesight but great hearing and sense of smell. They are more likely to smell you before they see you.
  • They are known as shy animals but extremely brave.
  • They do not hibernate.
  • They are part of the weasel family (mustelids) and have scent glands which give off a very strong musty smell.
  • Badgers are nocturnal and live in setts.
  • They can eat several hundred earthworms a night.
  • They are one of the only predators that can use their long claws to help them when eating hedgehogs.
  • They like peanuts (unsalted) as a tasty treat.
Two Forest School class members holding stones they've painted to look like badgers

I also mentioned the honey badger from Africa as it is rather impressive and sparked lots of interesting questions from the group. They loved that it is fearless of other animals (even lions).

As the group enjoyed making crafts during their Forest school sessions, we cut some tree cookies and painted badger faces on them. Some children dug into the ground and put their badgers into a sett for them to live happily in.

If you are out and about in the dark of the night and are lucky enough to see some badgers, keep in mind that they are a significant member of the UK's wildlife, keeping our beautiful countryside healthy. I know the pupils from The Holy Name Primary School in Manchester will, for sure.

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