Panshanger Park is 1,000 acres of countryside situated between Welwyn Garden City and Hertford. Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is working with the park’s owners, Tarmac, to manage the park for both people and wildlife.
It has been a fragmented sort of summer; the bright June weather became but a distant memory and a resignation that we’d seen the summer sunshine peak. But September brought with it a resurgence of the summer weather and the wildlife! Many butterflies and insects re-emerged and became active again.
At Panshanger Park, the warm June and wet July helped support the saplings through their first summer in Queen’s Wood. The vast majority of the trees planted last winter have survived. Next year they may be easier to spot when a bit more growth pushes them higher than the surrounding vegetation, which has acted as protection during the hot weather this year. Now, the trees will be starting to prepare for the changing of the season as we move into autumn.
Something that continues through the changing of the seasons is the Panshanger Park Wildlife Watch group. This summer we celebrated the group’s one-year anniversary!
The group is for budding young wildlife explorers and those curious to find out more about the natural world. Sessions are held monthly on a Sunday morning, which include a range of activities, games and exploration based in the wonderful setting of Panshanger Park.
Anybody between the ages of eight and 12 can join. The group is run by fantastic volunteer leaders whose enthusiasm for the natural world helps enable the young people to connect with what’s around them.
Wildlife Watch groups provide a national network for the UK’s Wildlife Trusts, who want to enable young people to enjoy and explore their surroundings, appreciate and understand the influences which have shaped their environment and involve them in taking action for the future.
The activities help to build personal and social skills, and knowledge, whilst developing a positive relationship with their local environment. By nurturing their curiosity and building confidence within a group, the aim is that participants will be inspired to continue learning and exploring in other areas of their lives.
This month’s Wildlife Watch group session saw the group having an evening of badger watching. Jenny, a Wildlife Watch leader, said: “There were some suitably impressed children and I, for one, was awestruck by the badgers.” One Wildlife Watch attendee thought it was: “A really fun and enjoyable experience.”
If you know of any young people who might be interested in joining the Wildlife Watch group, just visit: https://www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/events. Bookings are now open for the October to December sessions.
Jo Whitaker is the Panshanger Park people and wildlife officer. She works for Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and her role is funded by Tarmac.