Blog by Tim Castle, Heritage Trainee May 2022 | Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Blog by Tim Castle, Heritage Trainee May 2022

Wednesday, 18th May 2022

Blog by Tim Castle, Heritage Trainee May 2022
Wild Beach school © Tim Castle

Forest School, Wild Beach training and Bumblebees

It’s been an interesting time over the last few weeks. After managing to dodge the dreaded Covid bug, I finally came down with it, which meant time off work. However, now I’m back at work and have been busy.

I assisted Jill Ferguson, one of our Rye Harbour Communities and Wildlife Officers, deliver some Wild Beach days for Winchelsea School. This has been fun and it’s been great to see the children develop and learn skills as the weeks have gone on. I have also been helping with our popular Wildlife Rangers groups, where most recently we have been pond dipping by Castle Water, finding lots of Frogs, Newts, Ramshorn snails and even a Grass Snake swimming around in the water, looking for food. 

Pond dipping was also on the agenda for the Wildlife Watch group that I helped Natasha Sharma run (Natasha is another of our other Rye Harbour Communities and Wildlife Officers). This group is for children aged 5 – 11 and we discovered similarly fascinating creatures.

I have been working some school group visits, having fun looking for bugs, lizards and slow worms around our outdoor classroom, then doing scavenger hunts on the beach. These are sessions that we regularly hold.

Forest School
© Mark Newton

I have also been undergoing a continuation of the Forest School Training at Tilgate Park in Crawley, a consolidation of training in March. I learnt new skills, such as woodland management, campfire cooking and nature connection. I am now working towards completing my Forest School portfolio, which involves running sessions as a Forest School leader and evidencing the skills I need to gain the Level Three Forest School qualification.

I returned to Rye and completed Wild Beach training at Pett Level run by Sussex Wildlife Trust staff. This was an interesting course and has a similar ethos to the Forest School approach. We learnt about many things including ocean connection, rock pooling and had a fantastic mini lecture on the local dinosaur footprints and local geology including the ancient forest that can be found in amongst the rockpools at Pett. The forest is thousands of years old and remains in the sand,  preserved by the salt water and sand.

© Tom Marshall

Most recently I attended a Bumblebee Course at Woods Mill led by Dr Nikki Gammans from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. This was so interesting, learning about the Big Seven most common Bumblebees in the South East. I learnt a lot and even got to practice netting and examining some of the local bumblebees. These new skills will be useful with school groups, Wildlife Rangers and Forest School sessions.

This post is also available on Sussex Wildlife Trust website

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