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In these times of isolation and worry

In these times of isolation and worry, here’s something fun to keep us all busy –
Stroud Valleys Project’s new interactive wildlife spotting website www.wildclassrooms.org
A recent Dutch study found that primary aged school children have difficulty identifying common native animals, with on average the children in the sample identifying only 35% of the species correctly! It is so important to be able to recognise the animals and plants around us because, to quote the acclaimed nature author, Robert Macfarlane, ‘We find it hard to love what we cannot give a name to. And what we do not love we will not save.” So to help plug this gap in the knowledge of species or ‘Species Literacy’, Stroud Valleys Project has developed www.wildclassrooms.org . It is based around the challenge to see if participants can spot 60 different plants and animals in a year.
When individuals or groups register, they are given a virtual tree with bare branches. Each month they will be given five species to spot and when they are recorded on the site, a leaf will appear on their own tree. The more things they spot, the more leaves on their tree! They can also upload photos, drawings and poems of the plants and animals they have spotted to the public gallery. It is suitable for anyone of any age and it aims to celebrate the everyday wildlife that can be seen in our gardens and other local nearby green spaces. It will hopefully encourage us all to really notice the wildlife that we usually take for granted, from the primrose in a forgotten corner of the garden to the snail hiding under the flowerpots. In our current isolated times, it is more relevant than ever, as it is something we can do at home while also helping us feel part of the wider community and in the longer term kindle an interest for biodiversity, the environment and sustainability. www.wildclassrooms.org has been kindly funded by a grant from the Summerfield Trust.

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