National Park Rangers are working with local primary schools on a project aimed at encouraging pupils to look more closely at the changes that occur in nature during autumn and spring, a study known as phenology.
This exciting project aims to stimulate pupils’ interest in the great outdoors and raise awareness of the effects of climate change in the National Park and beyond. It links with the established Woodland Trust Nature’s Calendar project that encourages the public to record the signs of the onset of autumn and spring.
The great thing is you don’t have to be an expert to take part. A set of simple guidelines covers a huge range of fungi, plants, trees, insects and birds. Nor do you do have to live out in the countryside to take part as many of the species can be seen or found on verges, waste ground, gardens and parks in villages and towns. So get spotting!
Pupils from 14 primary schools in the Park are taking part in Ranger-led activities to introduce the project. For example, autumn activities include planting a tree and spring bulbs in each school garden, as well as introducing migration, hibernation and tree identification.
Schools register with the Woodland Trust scheme and send in their records to be added to the national data set. Planting bulbs and trees in the school grounds gives the pupils something to focus on, natural ‘clocks’ that help them watch the seasons progress.
A sharing good practice summary of the schools phenology project is available on Education Scotland’s website.
This is a great opportunity to encourage children to get out and enjoy the National Park while contributing to important ongoing research. But you don’t have to be a school pupil to take part. You can register as an individual or as a family.