By Aenghus Hughes, work experience student…
Groups of primary school children gained a fresh insight into the world of insects and minibeasts recently as part of the North Pennines AONB Partnership’s Cold-blooded and Spineless project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Students from Slaley First School and Allendale Primary had the opportunity to spend time learning about the need for invertebrates in our world.
The visits, which took place in and around Bowlees Visitor Centre as part of the ‘School Showcase’, were designed to raise awareness of the massively important role played by invertebrates in our world, and make them think again about dismissing them as scary. From art to hands-on activities, the youngsters were introduced to these incredible creatures that are all around them and their purposes.
An art workshop run by local artist, Linda Garrard, allowed the children to paint and draw plants and insects that they could find in the environment around them. She brought with her a wide array of ferns, grasses and leaves that could be painted over and stamped on to the pieces of art. The children especially loved the messiness of painting with the rollers and printing their designs onto paper. Through all the fun, the children were tasked with considering the habitats that they were creating in art form.
Importance of minibeasts
Over the course of the day, the groups of children grew to understand and embrace the fact that minibeasts are a vital part of our environment. One commented “If there weren’t any minibeasts in the world, we wouldn’t be alive.” Sam Tranter, North Pennines AONB Partnership Project Officer, said: “It is important to connect with younger generations and try to break down barriers in people’s understanding of invertebrates.” She continued: “Our aim is to get children to take an interest in minibeasts, so that they talk about them with their families and friends – highlighting how important they are.”
Another activity that was universally enjoyed was river dipping. Set in Bowlees Quarry, the eager young conservationists scoured the shallow water, in Bowlee Beck, for beetles and flies. The chance to splash around while also learning about the significance of these invertebrates was seized upon by the kids and a thoroughly fun time was had.
The AONB Partnership’s Cold-blooded and Spineless project is drawing to a close in terms of outreach and raising awareness. The five-year project has interacted with over a thousand people in the North Pennines AONB and UNESCO Global Geopark, helping each and every one to appreciate invertebrates.
The work of the project will culminate in a special finale event in early October 2019 – hosted by Bowlees Visitor Centre. Visit our Events Calendar to find out more about all our events in the coming months.