Nature’s classroom: Adventure and discovery for me and my girls

Nature's classroom
Summer is a great time to visit nature’s classroom, especially if you’re taking part in #30DaysWild!


AFTER a morning spent in a hot car and then a hot room listening to Primary School children singing we made the most of the afternoon by heading to what I consider our local nature’s classroom!

We’ve been having a blast taking part in the 30DaysWild challenge, but it’s been a little nuts because of Ava (10) and Becca’s (8) after-school activities.

On Day 2 we made sure that the garden birds and other wildlife had plenty of water to drink but Day 3 was a bit of a write-off, although I did plant some everlasting sweetpea seeds, which I understand are good for pollinators.

However, today has been the real deal. After arriving back from the girls’ singing event – they sounded lovely – we had lunch, piled our dogs Molly (14.5) and Dandy (2) into the car and headed to Carey’s Castle!

Visiting nature’s classroom

To kick-start the walk, I challenged the girls to find items to do with nature – not such a good idea as it got a bit cut-throat!

Young beech
A very young beech

I took lots of photos of native tree seedlings, because I’m always amazed by how, when left to get on with it, trees will always find a place to grow. I particularly like beech trees because they have been a favourite since childhood, when we had an old tyre tied to one in the garden.

Anyway, Becca also managed to find an empty case that would have contained beech nuts, so that gave me the opportunity to have a chat with her about the whole journey from seed/nut to infant tree.

River crossing challenge

River crossing
Ava crossing the river like a pro

Then came one of my favourite parts of any of top-spot walks that involve a forest and river – crossing the water! Ava’s been a self-professed adventurer since she was about 4 and I bought her a couple of khaki trousers in the boys’ section of Dunnes and told her they were her ‘adventure pants’. She later handed them on to a younger male cousin who loved the idea of owning Ava’s adventure pants! Becca was content to dip her toes for the time being.

A little later, we headed to a place that we consider a bit of a playground. People usually tend to stay around a couple of areas close to the castle but over the years we’ve found some spots that are particularly picturesque and make for further adventures.

River crossing
A tentative Becca steps towards adventure and independence!

At this point, Becca decided she was ready to attempt a crossing. Now came time for me to have a bit of a lesson. At Christmas I videoed the girls on my phone walking along a fallen tree over a piece of boggy/swampy ground – Ava holding Becca’s hand to guide her.

Just six months, and one birthday later, Becca refused to accept any help from Ava, but she was still willing to take my hand over difficult spots.

I’ve been realising lately that our small girl is growing up. But she’s not ready to put me out to pasture yet! On the way back to the car, Becca had a bad tumble while running, scraping both her elbows and getting a nasty, but not serious, cut on one knee.

With very little persuasion, she was willing to hobble onto my back and accept a lift back to the car just like the old days….!

and finally

You can learn more about what people are doing as part of their 30DaysWild Challenge by clicking here.

To read more about my blog and to follow me on Facebook and Twitter just visit here. I would love to receive ideas/suggestions about things we could do during our June challenge with Ulster Wildlife and the Wildlife Trusts.

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