Clues and Claws

We had a lovely morning down at Wood Farm doingΒ  Clues and Claws this morning, looking for evidence of the animals that live there. We found Shrew homes and tunnels and some of their food stores in the long tufts of grass. Shrews slice up grass at a specific length by chewing the sides in a wedge shape. They then store this for winter.
We found badger pooh and could see they like cherries and fox pooh which is very dark and has one pointed end. We found lots of secret pathways which deer, foxes and rabbits have made, and discovered the feeding perches of squirrels and birds of prey.
At the end we played some games which were enjoyed by all, including the grown-ups! Thanks to Tesco Bags of Help and Harrow Heritage Trust for funding and fascinating the event.

Summer Reading Challenge with Harrow Libraries

We have been commissioned to set up six nature adventures, one for each library in Harrow. The first of these is with Wealdstone Library and will be a nature hunt along the Belmont trail.

The summer reading challenge is asking children to engage with books and nature, thinking of ways to save the planet. The challenge is to read at least six books over the summer holidays and if they complete this, they will get will receive goodies including a special certificate and medal. Find out more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jLxVWxfwDs

To get involved click here

Trees and Leaves

We are back! We had a fantastic first event today with Trees and Leaves at Headstone Mannor Park. The sun was out and the participants were eager to be out in nature.We learned to identify some trees, discovered the thousands of animals that live in them, made crowns and wands from Willow, bracelets and puppets from Elder and leaf prints with clay. Our thanks to Roshan who volunteered today and to Thames 21, the Community and Heritage Lottery Funds, Friends of Headstone Manor Park and the Mayor of London for sponsoring it.

Focus on Buds

Hazel buds are alternate, they are found arranged in turn on opposite sides of the stem, which I have tried to show in the photo. You have probably all noticed the Hazel catkins while you are out and about. Did you know that the catkin is the male flower and it is this that releases the pollen? These have been on the tree over winter and are now coming into flower. The female part is a tiny, and rather beautiful, red flower. It is this that produced the nuts. Try to find one when you are out walking next.

Hazel was typically used to make Wattle and Daub in buildings because of its strength and flexibility. Apparently Hazel’s fertility is now compromised because grey squirrel remove all the nuts before they ripen!

Focus on Buds

Here are some tree identification tips to help you begin to notice features of and identify trees; little things you can look out for when you are out and about.

The bud at the tip of a twig is called a terminal bud and at the side of the twig, it is a lateral bud. How are the buds arranged on the twig?

You can look to see if the buds are ‘Paired’, ‘Alternate’ or ‘Spiral’? (see below for more information and description)

See what you notice when you are out and about. Send us your pictures and questions.

Here is my Oak twig.

Spiral – buds whorl alternately around the stem

Alternate – buds in pairs arranged in turn on opposite sides of the stem

Opposite – buds in pairs directly on either side of the stem

See https://www.heartofenglandforest.com/news/tree-twigs-winter/ for a good illustration.