Our Latest News

Nature days are now available without leaving your school.

Due to Covid rules restricting movement Nature Days has developed virtual field trips to be undertaken either online on in your school grounds.

Outreach sessions available:

  • GCSE and A level introduction to field work methods. This includes: a virtual introduction to methodologies in any location. Activities are then introduced, undertaken in school grounds or student’s gardens. A live online session – targeted questioning and challenges for the students which makes each workshop bespoke. NEA planning using the new Wjec enquiry question generator tool, which Nature days co-wrote. This will allow students and teachers to ensure their NEA enquiry questions are suitable, achievable within any restrictions which are in place. Further support is available for data collection and all aspect so for the enquiry process.
  • Hyper local field trips for primary school students. Nature days provides bespoke field trips using your own school grounds, or local green space. Topics covered are:
  1. Navigation
  2. Survival
  3. Roman
  4. Team building
  5. Environmental art
  6. Sustainability
  7. Weather
  8. Science investigation
  9. Habitats
  10. Outdoor Challenges – using the Nature Days outdoor challenge cards.

All field trips can take place within any school grounds or local green space.

Roman fort model

A nice article here for exploring geology in your own garden.

https://porch.com/advice/discover-the-fun-of-backyard-geology

My challenge for you today is to create your own dichotomous key for the leaves in your garden.

Watch my video to see how to do it.  

What you will need:
A pile of different leaves
Paper
Pen

How to do it:
Take your leaves and divide then into two piles based on a characteristic.
Next look at one of those piles at a time and see if you can divide the pile again using a different characteristic. You may look at the shape of the leaves or the texture or any marking such as veins or edges. Once you have made more sub set continue to try to sort each pile into smaller and smaller set by different characteristics.
When you have finished you should have one leaf in each pile at the end of the key.
Take your pen and paper and draw arrows to the sub sets and write the characteristic you have used to sort the leaf by. Continue with all your sub sets until all the branches of you key have been labelled.

Now you have your own dichotomous key for the leaves in your garden.
You could then look up the names of the plants using a published dichotomous key online or in a book and add the names of the leaves to the bottom.
Take a photo of your key and keep it as a tool to identify leaves in other locations.
You could even share it with someone else in your house to see if they can use it to identify a leaf they picked in your garden.

I would love to see your dichotomous keys so please tweet your photos #Naturedays or @DawnNaturedays or on the Nature Days Facebook page.

Dichotomous key

Our first “real” outdoor event for a while! This will be a socially distanced photo treasure hunt along with a video about Oxwich to accompany it. Watch the video on the Nature Days you Tube channel.

You will need:

A print out of the treasure map – Download here.

A print out of the photos clues- Download here.

A camera or phone

How to do it:
Print the Treasure map and photo clues below.
Try to go to all the locations identified on the map where the photos have been taken.
When you are at the location take a selfie of yourself and anyone you are with to prove you have found it.

Upload your photos to Twitter @GowerSociety @DawnNaturedays #OurGower #Naturedays

I will send certificates to all those who upload photos.

You might want to enter The Gower Society photo competition with your photos or others you have. Details here, with the chance to win £25 Amazon voucher.

Tips and hints:

Drive or walk to Oxwich Nature Reserve, there is a car parking charge. Look at the map and orientate where you are.

You can access the reserve via the footpath at the entrance to the car park for the beach or at the very front on the east end of the car park, past the toilets.

You can go to each location in any order you like.

Take care to stick to paths, but if you do get lost you can just head for the sea and walk back along the beach.

Dogs are welcome on the reserve but please clean up after them, and take care as there are adders on the dunes.

If you are worried about adders then sing your way around, or bring a stick to tap the ground as you go. Snakes don’t like people so if they hear you coming they will get out of the way.

Why not make your walk even more meaningful by bringing a rubbish bag and doing a litter pick as you go.

Please ensure you stick to social distancing guidelines and government guidance.

Have fun and I look forward to seeing your entries.

My challenge for you is to undertake an angle investigation.

Watch my video to see how.

To investigate angles in natural and manmade environments.  

Complete the angle survey worksheet using tallies for the two environments.

What you will need:
Your hand
Angle investigation results table.
Ruler
Protractor

How to do it:
Find a tree.
Use your hand with finger and thumb sticking out. This is your angle finder.
Measure the height up the tree until you get to a branch with your ruler.
Write that height down in the first column of the results table in meters.
Next using your angle finder see if the angle between the trunk and the branch is acute, less than 90o, right angle, 90o, or obtuse, greater than 90o. Then tally in the results table other column for that angle type.
If you want to actually measure the angles instead of just categorising them into the type then you can do that. You can try to use a protractor, or estimate using your 90o angle finder. Then write that angle down in the second column.
Next measure to the next branch, make sure you measure from the base of the tree to the next branch. Then measure the angle or tally the type of angle.
Continue this for as many branches as you like. If you can’t reach the branch then you may have to estimate the height – look at my video on measuring height to help.

Once you have all your results you can graph your results to see is there is a relationship between the height of the tree and the angle.


If you have measured the angle then use the first graph outline on the worksheets. If you have tallied the type of angle then use the second graph outline.


For both graphs the height of the tree is along the bottom, the X axis, as this is the variable we are choosing to change.
For the types of angle, plot the results for one type of angle in one colour and then plot a different set of plots in a different colour.
Draw a line with a ruler going through the middle of your plots trying to get half the dots on one side of the line.

To answer the question -What is the relationship between the height up a tree and the angle of the branches to the trunk?
Look at the shape of the graph.
Compare to the picture below.
Do any of these graphs look like your graph? It may not be exactly the same.

I would love to see your results and what your conclusions are so please share ant graphs or pictures on twitter #Naturedays @DawnNaturedays

With Kirsty William’s announcement today that all students will be going back to school in Wales in September and that school trips will also be encouraged, we are ready to take bookings!

Nature Days has been working hard over this difficult time, providing online resources for schools to access for home learning and outdoor learning during lockdown.

Now we can reconvene with our location of expertise THE OUTDOORS!

We have Risk assessments ready for Covid secure field trips and systems in place to ensure your students are as safe as possible on their field trip.

To book a bespoke field trip contact Dawn now.

FAQ
What are you doing to ensure you are Covid secure?
Nature Days is following all government guidelines and adjusting locations and activities so that social distancing can be maintained. Locations will be thoroughly risk assessed and additional facilities for hand washing implemented.
As the virus is more difficult to transmit outdoors all our field trips will be undertaken outdoors with maximum distance from any members of the public.
Risk assessments are in place for Covid and Nature Days will follow any additional systems individual schools are enforcing to ensure continuity.
Transport options will be discussed with schools so that this does not become a barrier.

What about hand washing outdoors?
On most sites an outdoor hand washing station will be set up so that hand washing can be undertaken effectively. Also any onsite toilet facilities will be used. The use of antibacterial gel will also be used when hand washing is not feasible.

What about sharing equipment?
Nature Days has a large amount of equipment to share out. When necessary individuals will be responsible for pieces of equipment and will not be able to share. If necessary the equipment will be cleaned thoroughly between users in soapy water or if electrical with antibacterial wipes.

We can’t use our normal transport, how are we going to get to the site?
Nature Days aims to use the same procedures as the booking schools for getting children to the site. Most are using parent’s cars and this will be the case on trip day just to a different site. Parents will then pick up from the site. If this is not possible then sites will be chosen to allow children to walk to the site from school or another drop off point.

Do you have a Covid Risk assessment?
Yes we do which we can share if staff require it. As Covid is less lightly to be transmitted outdoors measures put in place after undertaking the risk assessment are generally;
– Provision of hand washing or hand sanitiser.
– Social distancing – ensuring large areas are used for lunch and congregating.
– Disinfecting shared equipment.
– All groups will be self contained and not mix with other groups – one class/bubble only on a trip/site.

Nature days will be updating the measures in place following any change to the guidance and observing the OEAP guidance on Corona virus. Available here 

Systems:

  • Regularly washing/sanitising hands including when going outside, before and after touching shared objects such as activity equipment, before eating, after using the toilet, when getting on or off transport such as a minibus, when returning inside;
    • Avoiding touching objects shared by the public – for example, a member of staff could hold a gate open to avoid everyone touching it;
    • Avoiding activities which involve touching each other (e.g. holding hands);
    • Sanitising equipment before it is used.

Is there a financial risk in booking with you?
No.
All trips can be postponed or cancelled if issues arise.
No deposit is taken so no loss can occur to the school.

My Challenge for you today is to look at how your garden or school grounds have changed since the beginning of lockdown.

Watch my video to find out how.

What you will need:
A camera or phone.

How to do it:
If you took photos at the beginning of lockdown of your garden or school grounds find them. Maybe you did some of the earlier Nature days challenges such as the mini beast hunt and pollinator survey.
Next look around your garden to see what has changed since then.
I bet nature hasn’t been in lockdown!
Count how many difference you can find between March and July.
Things to look for:
Flowers
Berries and fruits
New plants and weeds
Larger plants
Changes in the amount of plants and flowers.
Changes in the amount and type of mini beasts. You could redo your mini beast hunt and see if the results are different compared to in March.

If you are back at school after a long while, take a walk around the grounds. What has got bigger? What is in flower or fruit now?
What are the main changes and would you have noticed if you hadn’t been away?

If you have any before and after photos I would love to see them so please share on Twitter #Naturedays and tag me in @DawnNaturedays or on the Nature addy facebook page.

My Challenge for you today is to dissect a flower.

Watch my video to see how.

What you will need:
A flower
Parts of the flower sheet below
A camera or a piece of paper and pencil

How to do it:
Look around you garden and with permission pick a flower.
Look at the shape of the flower and try to understand why it is shaped that way.
Look at the location of the pollen on the anther, does the shape of the flower force pollinators past the pollen? Does the location of the nectar persuade the pollinators to push past the anther or the stigma?

Find the pollen bearing anther. Do they stick out beyond the stigma on a filament? Are they ripe now? Can you get pollen on your finger?
Find the sticky stigma. Is it sticky on your finger? Can you place some pollen from the anther on to the sticky stigma? If you can you have now made a baby plant!
Follow the style from the sigma down to the flower stalk. Can you find the ovary? A bulge below the flower.
Cut the ovary open and see if you can find the unfertilised ovum which will turn into the seeds. How many ovum does the flower have?
Can you find the next stage after pollination and fertilisation?
Can you find a seed developing behind a flower?
You could collect this seed to complete the life cycle by placing it in soil and get the seed to germinate into a new plants.

Use the parts of the flower worksheet to label your own flower. You could draw the flower or take a photo and label using an app like skitch.

I would love to see your labelled pictures so please tweet #Naturedays @DawnNaturedays or on the Nature Days facebook page.

Our first “real” outdoor event for a while! This will be a socially distanced photo treasure hunt along with a video about Oxwich to accompany it. Watch the video on the Nature Days you Tube channel.

You will need:

A print out of the treasure map – Download below

A print out of the photos clues- Download below.

A camera or phone

How to do it:

  • Print the Treasure map and photo clues below.
  • Try to go to all the locations identified on the map where the photos have been taken.
  • When you are at the location take a selfie of yourself and anyone you are with to prove you have found it.
  • Upload your photos to Twitter @GowerSociety @DawnNaturedays #OurGower #Naturedays
  • I will send certificates to all those who upload photos.
  • You might want to enter The Gower Society photo competition with your photos or others you have. Details here, with the chance to win £25 Amazon voucher.

Tips and hints:

Drive or walk to Oxwich Nature Reserve, there is a car parking charge. Look at the map and orientate where you are.

You can access the reserve via the footpath at the entrance to the car park for the beach or at the very front on the east end of the car park, past the toilets.

You can go to each location in any order you like.

Take care to stick to paths, but if you do get lost you can just head for the sea and walk back along the beach.

Dogs are welcome on the reserve but please clean up after them, and take care as there are adders on the dunes.

If you are worried about adders then sing your way around, or bring a stick to tap the ground as you go. Snakes don’t like people so if they hear you coming they will get out of the way.

Why not make your walk even more meaningful by bringing a rubbish bag and doing a litter pick as you go.

Please ensure you stick to social distancing guidelines and government guidance.

Have fun and I look forward to your entries.