Whether it be a relaxing stroll in the countryside, an opportunity to see varied wildlife & birds, a chat with your friends by a flowing stream, or a spot of outdoor voluntary work, Harrington Nature Reserve has a lot to offer Young People. In a world of computer games and stressful schoolwork, it's easy to forget how relaxing, enjoyable and benefitial time outdoors in a beautiful environment can be. All we ask is that you enjoy your time at the Nature Reserve, treat it with due care and come back again soon!
Visits to the reserve from schools and colleges are particularly encouraged as one of the main objectives of a Local Nature Reserve is to advance education and research into natural history and earth sciences. Harrington Nature Reserve is perfectly suited to such education, being located so close to local schools and possessing such rich and varied habitats and associated wildlife.
From dipping for minnoes in 'The Rezzer' to bat watching, there are so many fun and stimulating things to do at the reserve.
For help or further information, contact us.
Some Suggested Activities for Young People
Buy or borrow a bird book and a pair of binoculars. Begin by just watching birds and getting to know the more common species, e.g. Mute Swan and Mallard Duck.
Colour of plumage, bill shape, habitat and call / song are all good indicators of particular species of bird. For example, a woodpecker is unlikely to be seen on the reservoir. A Robin has a red breast whereas a Wren is mostly brown and is much smaller than a Robin.
Different birds will be found at different parts of the reserve. Make a list of birds in the following habits:-
Why not do a bird survey every summer? This way you can monitor the breeding birds each year and see if there are any changes each season. The 'dawn chorus' in early May is a brilliant time to hear birds. Dawn chorus walks at Harrington Nature Reserve are advertised on the website and in the local press.
'The Rezzer', Ellerbeck and associated tributaries are home to various small fish (minnoes), invertibrates and frogs. A good way to explore this wildlife is to use a small net to catch it and look at it close hand. It goes without saying, that the animal life is very delicate and can be easily harmed if not handled with care. Please keep it out of the water for only a small length of time and carefully put it back where it came from.
Warm summer evenings are the best time to see bats. Almost any place around the reserve provides opportunities to see them, the best sites being Viewpoint, the meadows, the footpath behind the houses and around 'The Rezzer'. Sit quietly and wait for the bats to fly past. For those with a particular interest in bats, 'bat detectors' can be purchased or borrowed. These pick up the inaudable bat frquencies on a special meter. Different bats emit different frequencies and these inaudable 'squeeks' are used like a radar system to detect flying insects for food.
The John Muir Award
The award is free, open to all, non-competitive and can be tailored to suit particular groups. The award consists of four challenges: Discovery, Exploration, Conservation and Sharing. Those who complete the four challenges receive a nationally recognised certificate. For more details, click here.
Further Sources of Information and Activities
The English Nature site has more than 100 lesson plans meeting the requirements of the National Curriculum. These can be used / adapted for use at the reserve. The activities and information will help pupils understand nature and our impact on the natural environment. There are also over 500 links to other websites providing educational resources, on everything from bugs to the effects of polution on the environment.
Other useful (and fun!) resources:-
The reserve is always in need of people to help out, whether it be practical help (e.g. path clearing) or in other ways (e.g. fund raising, publicising the reserve, etc). If you or your school want to get involved, then have a look at the Volunteers section and get in touch.