I had fun this weekend for two reasons. Firstly, the Amazonian Rainforest ‘Big Saturday’ was a great success. There were lots of visitors on the day and it was great to hear people’s responses along the lines of, “Wow, I didn’t realise praying mantises did that!” as I regaled them with one or two of the facts I’d learned about this charismatic insect family.
The South American band ‘El Condor’ were fantastic, as was Gina’s talk (which I unfortunately missed) and the many other handling tables and talks which kept the visitors engaged for the whole day. It was great to be next to an enthusiastic Dmitri with his table of Amazonian arthropods; barely scratching the surface of what the collection, and indeed Amazonia, is comprised of. I also met Matt who told me about the ‘From grey to green’ project encouraging people to record wildlife in Manchester.
Sunday, was a day when I perhaps should have contributed an hour to the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. But the good weather proved too much of a draw (especially given its recent offerings) to look out for nonexistent birds in the garden (as the pristine bird feeder testifies to). So instead we headed out to Clumber Park in north Nottinghamshire.
Clumber is a great place to go for a walk or a cycle, but the thing I was most impressed with was the recently opened Discovery Centre. Although primarily targeted at children, I found the displays of Clumber’s wildlife very interesting. The discussion of the heath at Clumber really brought home to me (and hopefully other visitors) the importance of this rapidly declining habitat. I also enjoyed the tank of freshwater animals, which I’m sure will ‘get busier’ in spring time!
Sadly, the house at Clumber was demolished in 1938 as it had fallen into rack and ruin, but the grounds, neo-gothic church and walled kitchen garden (unfortunately closed during the winter) make for a great day out.