As summer draws to an end the Rangers are starting to change their works programme from focusing on events and access management to winter scrub clearance. Here is a look at some of the things we have been doing over the last few months:
This summer was another huge success with our 4 Summer Fun activities being as popular as ever –
Shelter Building: 22 children attended the Shelter Building event. The session started with a chat about how people used to live in the area back in the stone-age before there were supermarkets and houses, then the children got to play at Hunter-gathering, carrying their spears across the heathlands searching for deer and looking out for other sources of food before building their own shelters in the woods. There was some excellent craftsmanship, and some amazing shelters were created. We then tested each of the shelters for comfort, strength to withstand attack and waterproofness.
Bug Hunt Bingo: 18 children explored the weird and wonderful world of mini-beasts, looking in different habitats around the Wyndham’s Pool Area to find out what insects lived where. Each child had their very own bug hunt bingo card and were able to tick off the creepy-crawlies as they found them. As well as the usual woodlice, spiders and beetles the children got a close up view of a Speckled Wood Butterfly, a Blue Damselfly, and a Large Crane fly. Everyone one went home with a magnifying insect pot and a basic bugs at home booklet so that they can explore their own gardens.
Adventure Trail: The trail allowed participants to explore the eastern end of Yateley Common, either by following clues or for the more adventurous by map reading. 32 children took part in the trail and were able to undertake activities such as scavenger hunts as well as looking out for Fairies and Gnomes that were hiding amongst the trees along the route, back at the start/end the children were able to follow a blindfold trail, find their way through a maze and learn about compasses. At the end every participant went home with their very own compass and a short guide on compasses. One little boy was so pleased with his gift he said “Wow, I’ve always wanted a compass!”
Nature Detectives Pond Dip: 20 children helped Rangers investigate the murder of Derek the Duck who was found lying close to Stroud pond -the children’s mission was to pond dip in search of possible culprits in the watery habitat but also to discuss other possible culprits who might be found on land. Amongst the beasties found were dragonfly nymphs, Diving beetle larvae, diving beetles, water boatmen and a newt. At the end the children considered their findings, voted on possible culprits and then on further investigation of the crime scene found that Derek had been killed by litter left on the Common. At the end all our investigators went away with a magnifying glass so they can continue their nature detective investigation in the future
On the 24 May the Rangers took up the challenge #100happydays –the idea being that we would tweet a picture everyday for 100 days of something that makes us Rangers at Yateley Common happy. Using Twitter as a platform for publicizing our photos, we succeeded in tweeting 100 photos showing some of the many activities we get up to and some of the great work that volunteers do, there were also lots of shots of our heathlands and the plants and animals found on sites in the north of Hampshire. The photos can all be seen on our blog.
We also supported Hampshire County Council ‘Hampshire Air’ initiative by creating a couple of videos showing Yateley Common.
Volunteers helped to install new steps at Wyndham’s Pool, replace Dragons teeth across the Common and help with much needed maintenance on sites across the north of Hampshire.
Up and Coming
This winter promises to be another busy one with plenty of scrub clearance planned, we are also looking into whether there will be enough suitably sized trees to run the ‘cut your own Christmas’ tree event this year -so keep an eye out for more information closer to Christmas.
Elsewhere in Yateley
The Yateley Society has set up its WW1 Exhibition display in Yateley Library. The exhibition is “World War 1 – Yateley’s Story” and gives an insight as to how the First World War affected Yateley in 1914, both on the Home Front and the men who served in military campaigns.