Exploring Nature in Hylton Dene
Year 5 and 6 children from Bexhill Academy have been getting to know Hylton Dene a little better this term through their work towards a John Muir Conservation Award. The John Muir Trust runs the scheme to encourage young people to reconnect with wild places; to gain their award children have to discover and explore a wild space, carry out some conservation work, and then share their findings with others.
Before visiting, the children worked in school to plan their visit, thinking about how they would stay safe, what knid of plants and animals they might spot, and how they might improve the dene for wildlife and visitors.
Over the last three weeks, the classes visited the dene, donning boots and coats for the short walk. On arrival, the children explored the dene, identifiying trees, flowers, fungi, plants and animals using apps and identification sheets. They took on the mini treasure box challenge, competing to see who could find the most tiny natural treasures. Some were lucky enough to spot ducks building a next, see rabbits in the undergrowth, and watch a comorant drying it's wings in the sunshine at the fishing pond. All gazed in wonder at the upturned roots of a fallen tree, and listened to the springtime bird song.
After exploring the dene, children moved on to improving this little patch of wild space for others, working cheerfully to remove bags upon bags of litter from paths and wooded areas to the south of the stream.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their visits to Hylton Dene, and we all learnt to look a little more closely at the special places on our doorstep. The children will be making a film to share their experience with others, and many promised to visit again with friends and family soon.