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Let’s Learn Moor

Wednesday, July 7th 2021

A big event organised by Countryside Learning invites primary school children to spend a day on a moor to learn about uplands habitats, the work of gamekeepers and farmers, the emergency services who protect the uplands, mountain rescue, National Parks and the management of the moors. Following its success on the North York Moors, Let’s Learn Moor is being rolled out across 5 further moors and the aim is to have 2000 plus primary school children out on various moors during Let’s Learn Moor week. Today a small team from the reserve went along to take part in this huge event; an opportunity to meet over 340 children and their teachers and explain all about the Local Nature Reserve and its wildlife and the importance of the upland moor habitat. The first challenge of the day was to put up a gazebo in the breezy conditions!

Fortunately, there was plenty of time to set up!

With everything in place the first of ten school groups could be welcomed. Each school was allocated half an hour at every activity station.

Apart from visiting the Foxglove Covert stand the pupils could learn about heather management, falconry and beekeeping plus much more. Honey farmers from Pear Tree Honey Farm showed the children a portable observation hive and let them have a taste of their delicious produce.

During the half an hour session with us the groups did a round robin of 3 different activities. They had a demonstration of how a mist net works for bird ringing (using toy birds) and found out why bird ringing is important in conservation.

They also learned about our work with owls especially the Barn Owls that occupy the many old barns in the Yorkshire Dales.

The second challenge was a 'who am I?' animal game.

Finally, there was a chance to do some sweep netting to find out about the invertebrates that live amongst the heather. Spiders, centipedes and ants were the main finds of the day!

We took with us a dispay made by volunteers of wading birds that visit the moors in the summer months to breed. The Swaledale Ringing Group are currently working in partnership with many local gamekeepers to ring Oytercatcher, Lapwing and Curlew chicks (such as the 3 shown here).

Our sincere thanks to Hayley and Elizabeth for giving up their day to help, Jo and Roger for staying back and looking after the Field Centre and to the staff from the Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group and Countryside Learning for inviting us to take part in this grand day out!

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