EVENT and DO King of the Wingers
Citizen Science projects are growing in popularity. Taking part helps boffins find more about the world and beyond, gets you outside, teaches children about nature and is a lot of fun. The Big Butterfly Count brings purpose to a picnic and uncovers something new about our environment. Organised by the Butterfly Conservation, it’s simple enough for even tiny children to join in, and is a fun introduction to nature spotting. Download and print an identifying chart or use their free app to record which butterflies you spot. Find more incredible butterfly facts here or discover how to make a simple paper member of the Lepidoptera family here
EVENT and DO Grand Moth Larkin’
Or perhaps you’re a fan of the butterfly’s cool, goth cousin, the moth. Moth Week is an annual celebration of moths and moth recording. Why not see how many different kinds you can spot? One of the very easiest and effective ways is simply leaving your curtains open when you’re inside; moths will come to rest on your window pane. Alternatively, open your bathroom windows, throw on the light, wait and watch the fluttering creatures come into your house (it’s probably best to check that all of your family are happy to have a few winged visitors swing by). Submit your findings and find out more about these night-time beauties here.
DO Special Branch
With many playgrounds still closed, we’re finding new ways to scramble, scale, and discover dramatic new views. Climbing trees makes a great replacement. Why not head out to your favourite forest, park or field, and find a new favourite to clamber up? Linda McGurk has written a fantastic, passionate, and well-researched piece on the benefits of heading into the branches, as well as wider risky play; it improves physical strength, mental health, helps kids regulate emotions and teaches resilience. She’s also penned this useful and practical guide to safe tree climbing. If you have very small children, find suggestions for supporting them as they start to want to climb trees here. Need inspiration? Find a wood near you via the Woodland Trust
It’s horseradish month! Fiery horseradish adds a pungent flavour to dishes, and makes a fierce condiment. It’s easy to forage and is found across the country or grow your own; the root is the precious part, so take a trowel or fork to dig yours out. Home-prepared horseradish is even stronger than shop-bought, so be prepared for a mouth explosion. Why is horseradish so pungent? It’s a defence against herbivores; find out more about the science behind the heat here, and the history and its botanical, medicinal uses here; it has antiseptic qualities and is good for the digestive system.
LEARN and MAKE Topical Veg
The always-wonderful Lambeth Country Show, which brings the tastes, sounds and, um, smells of rural life to the city has this year gone online. The musical performances, workshops, market places and displays will all take place virtually. We’re most excited, however, about the shows; the Flower Show has plenty of classes including children’s categories, handicraft exhibits and floral art competitions. The Scarecrow competition will also be enormous fun to enter, wherever you live. But for us, the big one is the Vegetable Sculpture competition. Like Have I Got News For You meets an explosion in a greengrocers, the competition embraces topical veggie arrangements, often titled with terrible puns, topped off with some incredible carving work and artistic arrangements. We’re excited that this year, the whole world will be able to join in. Deadline for entries is Friday at 3pm. Find out more here
What we’ve been reading this week:
‘Seeing the trees being ripped down is really hard’: meet a father and son protesting against HS2
“The controversial HS2 route slices through some of England’s most precious woodland. But standing in its way are father and son Larch and Seb Maxey. They explain why living 30ft off the ground in precarious treehouses has brought them closer together.” Read more here
Found something inspirational to read that you’d like to share? Want to share your lockdown creations with us? Have an idea for things to do? We’d love to hear from you. Email Kate