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Discover the Depths of Nature at RSPB's Conwy Nature Reserve

Conwy-Nature-Reserve

A typical ‘Schools on Reserve’ day visit at RSPB Conwy is full of experiences that bring you close to nature and is guaranteed to be different every time you visit! The wonderful habitats here allow children to explore and investigate, enriching curriculum-based learning.   

On arrival, our education team meet and greet the school at the bus with a friendly face and warm welcome.  We then embark on an adventure of learning and nature discovery! Firstly, we head to the education room. Here, we settle the school in with an introduction, allowing us to assess what the children already know so that we can build on that knowledge and excitement. After this, we head out on the reserve. Visiting schools usually select two sessions from a broad variety. The two most popular sessions are based around land minibeasts and pond minibeasts (differentiated according to pupils’ age and ability).   

Session 1 (pre-lunch):

Pond Minibeasts - Discover what’s lurking within the depths of the pond habitat! What creatures do you think you will find there? How will we know what we have discovered? What equipment will we need to catch them? How do you think we can do this safely for us and the creatures we find? After a quick discussion and safety demonstration, the children work in teams and use nets to sample the creatures living in our ponds. They then further their skills by using keys to identify what they find and practice data collection methods which also allow them to assess abundance and diversity. Throughout this time, our education team promote knowledge through questioning and divulging interesting facts. After the practical experience, we then play games to test their knowledge in a fun and exciting way! 

Session 2:

Land Minibeasts - This session allows children to experience a contrasting habitat. Have a look around you, where do you think the land minibeasts will be? And why? What is a minibeast? What minibeasts will they find living here? Often, children can already name a good number of minibeasts. At this point, we play games to energise the learning, encourage questioning and use keys (identification and branching) as appropriate. We then get them to think about how they are going to collect and sample the minibeasts – with sweep nets, sheets, brushes and sample pots. Trays are also organised to classify and group minibeasts based on their number of legs to support work on classification. Following practical sampling, we have a look at the minibeasts we have caught, giving inspiring facts about the various species and discuss any noticeable patterns in what has been caught, drawing on their scientific reasoning. Again, their knowledge is tested through games and other fun activities! I am still amazed after doing this job every day, the facts the pupils retain and their leaps in reasoning and explanation by the end of the day!

As well as many visits from local schools, we also receive many schools visiting from further afield. The meaningful experiences children receive on their visit help inspire their passion for lifelong learning about science and nature! Here are some of the testimonials from teachers: 

“The children have had a fantastic day! Very educational activities!” 

“Once again, a very enjoyable and informing visit. Children were kept interested and engaged throughout – Thank you.” 

“Excellent day. Enjoyed by all. All enthusiastic and involved throughout. Excellent management and organisation.” 

“Great visit, children learned lots. RSPB teachers were very knowledgeable.” 

“Fantastic programme for our children, fitted in brilliantly with our minibeast topic. All children were very enthused. Thank you so much.” 

And here are some reviews from the pupils:

“Thank you for showing us around the area. I liked seeing the robins. I enjoyed looking through the binoculars.” 

“I am writing to you because of the amazing trip to the RSPB. It was the best school trip ever, the best part was JEFF! The snail. The pond dipping was fun especially with the newt, they are so cute.  When the nets went in the pond and taken out there was lots of pond weed in the net we had to put it back it was lots of fun!” 

“I had a truly smashing time at the RSPB, the bus trip took ages, but it was really worth it! When we first got there, my expectations got higher with the power of FACTS!” 

“We found a pondskater which was my favourite creature that we found because whenever it moved it looked like it teleported (It was fast).” 

“The RSPB is a good place to visit for children and adults. It’s amazing! We learnt so much.” 

“I liked getting green frog getting different creatures birdwatching finding Conwy castle (castle) and different birds.” 

“It was totally fun using the binoculars in the hide. I saw a grey heron in the reeds. I captured and released a water beetle.” 

“I found it seriously relaxing and peaceful.” 

For further information about our sessions, please see our website:

https://www.rspb.org.uk/schoolvisitconwy/

For more information, please contact:

Rachel Finch (Learning Officer/Swyddog Addysgu)

rachel.finch@rspb.org.uk

Follow us on Twitter - @RSPBConwy

Like us on Facebook - RSPBConwyNR

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