Thousands of school children come to Martin Mere every year and enjoy a variety of guided learning sessions with our dedicated education team, then they use our extensive and accessible site to explore the wetlands under their own steam. During this ‘self-guided’ time, teachers use the Wild Walk with its reed-bed maze, the adventure playground and feed birds in the waterfowl gardens, but we wanted to give them more.
Following consultation with teachers, we have developed a fantastic new set of resources for schools to borrow and use during their ‘self-guided’ time. For younger children, we have pairs of big carved dice made from oak. One has six bird behaviours on it, the other has six ways of expressing these behaviours. Teachers cast the dice onto the grass and children ‘mime – waddling’ for example, or ‘dance – preening’. For younger children we also have sets of waterproof cards: children in pairs pick a card each and spot whatever it says on them. So for example, spot something which is ‘smooth’ and ‘swaying’, or find something which is ‘heavy’ and ‘crawling’. Almost endless combinations for observation and sharing.
For slightly older children, we have created waterproof species boards, with essential information and questions on the ‘teacher’s side’ and fun facts and pictures on the ‘children’s side’. Seven of our commonest species are featured on these light, sturdy boards.
Every teacher and helper who comes with their school will be able to take a useful Spotter Guide with them. Last but not least, we have Sammi the life-size Whooper Swan who comes complete with his own weighing and measuring kit. Luckily, Sammi is only a quarter of the weight of a real whooper swan!
To book a school visit, call the team on: 01704 891244.
WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9.30am to 6pm and parking is free of charge. Situated off the A59, it is signposted from the M61, M58 and M6. The Centre is also accessible via the Southport to Manchester and the Liverpool to Preston line by train from Burscough Rail Stations. Visit the web site http://www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere/ to find out what’s on all year round at Martin Mere and the other eight WWT Wetland Centres.