After a year or more of regular Playing Out sessions, is there a place for injecting a new idea or activity and offering something semi-organised? Greville Road residents tried it recently when young nature hunters searched for wildlife with Iain Green: renowned wildlife photographer and naturalist.
What Happened When Children Looked for Nature on the Street
Iain visited the Playing Out session and inspired children (and adults!) to look in a different way at the richness of animal and plant life on doorsteps, front gardens and even skips.
Stewards, wheelie-bins and road closure signs were in place as usual and some children chose to carry on scooting, cycling and playing while others opted for nature hunting. Clutching digital cameras lent by Iain, children went off in pairs and groups to observe and photograph what they saw.
Soon huddled heads were to be seen stooping over cracks in the pavement and minutely examining drain covers. Like flocks of birds, they darted between front garden bushes to swoop to the edge of a rubble-filled skip where they gazed at woodlice and other mini-beasts. Iain moved between them, not instructing but simply guiding their discovery and answering their questions, and the afternoon had an atmosphere of calm, intense study.
Images of Nature From the Street
Iain has photographed and studied urban wildlife and his book Wild London shows the diversity of plant and animal life within the city’s boundaries. But this was the first time he has led a session confined to one street and it was something of an experiment for him as well as for Greville Road children and street organisers.
The results were fascinating and the children captured a huge range of street wildlife on film including sparrows nesting (and who knew that male sparrows had several females and nests at the same time and divide their time between them?) solitary bees, and a well-camouflaged green caterpillar which was identified (by an entymologist contact of Iain’s via Twitter) as a Hawthorne Sawfly larva.
Well done to all the nature hunters – you have created some wonderful images – and huge thanks to Iain Green for visiting and inspiring young naturalists.