Fleet Wildlife Explorers: developing your child’s interest in the environment

The Fleet Wildlife Explorers are a group based in the town, providing children with a programme of indoor and outdoor activities with an emphasis on fun ways to learn about nature. Activities include arts and crafts, games, computer studies and talks from visiting naturalists.

 

With a history dating back to 1965, we caught up with Nikki from the group who was able to tell us more about the fantastic Fleet Wildlife Explorers.

 

CommunityAd Exclusive - Fleet Wildlife Explorers: developing your child’s interest in the environmentFor those who might not know, can you explain what the Fleet Wildlife Explorers are and what inspired you to create this group?

Fleet Wildlife Explorers are part of the RSPB’s Youth Group, launched in 1965 as the Young Ornithologists Club (YOC) but now known as The Wildlife Explorers (WEX) as this better describes the wider programme of indoor and outdoor activities that helps to develop children’s interest in birds, wildlife and the environment. WEX groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area while learning more about birds and wildlife, targeting the 8-14-year-old age group.

 

Can you tell us more about your background in wildlife?

The group leaders have a wide variety of backgrounds united in a passion for wildlife and helping connect people with the environment. Some leaders have previously been members of either the YOC or WEX group.

 

What would you say have been your most memorable moments so far with the Fleet Wildlife Explorers?

Our Bat walks at Fleet Pond or along the Basingstoke Canal are always popular and exciting, detecting the different varieties of Bats we have in the area using bat detectors and a local expert to help with the identification. Most recently, we installed some ‘leaky dams’ in association with the Friends of Basingbourne Park, where the kids enjoyed getting seriously muddy whilst benefitting nature by slowing down the flow of the water off the area.

 

What indoor and outdoor programmes or activities do you provide for the children of Fleet?

Our programme includes expert lead walks looking at aspects of the natural world, such as Birds, Fungi, Flowers or Bats. Before the pandemic, there was an active programme of indoor meetings but group numbers currently do not justify the hall hire to reintroduce this although it is a goal that we will do so again.

Are you currently looking for new members and, if so, how can we enquire to find out more about joining?

The Group is very keen to increase its active membership of children between 8-14 years, but also there are opportunities for new leaders, both young (16-18) and adults. Greater participation could enable us to arrange more events and reintroduce the indoor meetings to carry out arts and crafts, games and learning from visiting naturalists.

We can be contacted via our website group.rspb.org.uk/fleet, Facebook @FleetRSPBWildlifeExplorers or email [email protected]

 

CommunityAd Exclusive - Fleet Wildlife Explorers: developing your child’s interest in the environmentWhat events have you got coming up in 2024 that you are most looking forward to?

Meetings:

2nd June 2024 – Magnificent Minibeasts!

30th June 2024 – Heathland and Heathers

21st July 2024 – Butterflies and stories of our rare chalk streams

August (TBC) – Dragonflies and Nightjars

 

What makes Fleet such a wonderful town to live in?

Fleet has a great variety of accessible outdoor spaces where nature can thrive although it needs the community’s help to develop and protect them. Fleet Pond for instance is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a great spot to take a walk amongst nature, relaxing and improving mental health.

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