Nature-loving children from Bristol have been foraging seeds and nuts for the animals Secret World Wildlife Rescue in Somerset.
Secret World rescues, rehabilitates and releases over 5,000 animals each year and relies on donations from the public to feed the animals in their care. They recently asked for foraged foods on social media as certain animals, namely squirrels and dormice, are dependent on them for nourishment.
Greenbank Forest School Childminding was founded in 2014 by Mike Williams and Charissa de Zeeuw. The couple operates a childminding practice with a forest school ethos which means they take the children in their care, toddlers and pre-schoolers, out in the great outdoors on most days and the animals at Secret World have benefits from their foraging.
Charissa said: “We were already familiar with Secret World and their wildlife preservation work as we attended a hedgehog shelter building workshop there last year.
“Recently, one of the parents alerted us to the fact that Secret World was asking for foraged nuts and seeds for their animals. As we are out in the woods regularly with the children, we saw it as a great activity for them to do.
“We quickly amassed bags of acorns, sweet chestnuts, ash and sycamore seeds and contacted Secret World to arrange delivery of our booty.”
Ellie Wallace, Learning and Engagement Officer at Secret World, said: “We were delighted to hear that young children had gone out of their way to collect food for our animals.
“A key part of our work at Secret World is to educate the public and inspire in them a love and respect for wildlife. The younger you start the better. That’s why we work closely with schools and educators, providing them with interactive workshops and resources.
“What the Greenbank Forest School did is a perfect example of simple activities early years practitioners can do to engage the children in wildlife preservation. We organised a special visit to Secret World for the children to teach them a few more things about British wild animals.”
Mike said: “Our children had a fantastic time at Secret World. They enjoyed learning more about what each animal eats and watching the sleeping badgers and other resident animals.”
To find out more about the learning programme and visits to Secret World please go to www.secretworld.org.