Thursday, 16 July 2015

Project Wild Thing: Day 1

Wow, what a fantastic first day we've had! At the school I work, our final few days before the summer break are 'Curriculum Enhancement Week' days. A colleague and I have decided to run our own activity this year: Project Wild Thing (inspired by the film 'Project Wild Thing' and The Wild Network). Four days of 'wild time'.

Our first day has been spent mainly looking at minibeasts: signs to look for, different ways of recording and identifying, and the thing the pupils enjoyed most - catching them!

After a walk around the grounds to look for the best places, we let our students loose with cameras and tasked them to take 10 photos of any insect or other invertebrate they could. Whilst they were busy, we took the same opportunity, finding some stunning Cinnabar moth caterpillars which were spotted by one of our pupils. Our minibeast hunt was also interrupted by a common toad underneath one of our mobile classrooms!

After we had sufficient photos, we introduced our pupils to iSpot. They quickly got used to navigating the website and were excited by the speed with which some of their finds were identified. They were also fans of the quizzes once they had found them too!

After lunch, we took sweep nets and pooters out onto the school field. I think it would be fair to say that this was the part they enjoyed most... some of them picked up the technique really quickly and made some very good discoveries:

Red soldier beetle?

Cricket before release

A pooter full of minibeasts
We couldn't identify everything we found, but are hoping that iSpot will give us some suggestions. If any readers have any ideas, please do comment to help us out. I think they were surprised at just how many different things we could find in just a couple of patches of long grass. There was also much excitement when one pupil caught a red tailed bumblebee and a gatekeeper butterfly in the same net!

At the very end of the day, we set up out camera trap and two mammal print traps (below) that we will check out tomorrow (Day 2). Our second day is going to focus on mammals and birds. I hope they enjoy it as much as they seemed to today.


  1. Love the footprint trap. Keep us updated on what you find :)

    1. Unfortunately not much this time - it was a very wet and windy night! We've set them again for tonight though, fingers crossed we'll get some small mammals this time.