Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Greening the next generation, some ideas for things to do at an Eco Club..

Following on from my last post,I thought I would do a post on some of the memberships and resources I have used. Some are free, some require a small membership fee, all are really good and I can personally recommend them. I also have listed some books and ideas sheets where you can find out more about some of the games we play and crafts we do at both Eco Club and when I am out and about working with children as an Environmental Educator/Forest School Leader. The ones which involve memberships are obviously UK based, but their web sites are internationally down loadable, I guess? I expect there are US, Au and many other parts of the World equivalents, and I would love to know what they are, as I get asked about this via email.

Eco Club is an RSPB Wildlife Explorers Club. As part of the RSPB Wildlife Explorers club membership fee each child is a member of the RSPB and gets a magazine every two months as well as various occasional goodies from the RSPB. I also got to go off on a weekend in Bedfordshire for training as a Wildlife Explorers Leader ;-) The RSPB provide a lot of support and help to their clubs. Our RSPB membership is great and the children love the magazines and of course we take part in the Big Schools and Big Garden Birdwatch every year! There are lots of good, free ideas on their website as well.

Eco Club is also a Woodland Trust Nature Detectives Club , again for a small fee. The Nature Detectives Club is run by The Woodland Trust and they also produce the most amazing free resources as well which are available on their website to download and print off. The spotter and I.D sheets are especially good. The Woodland Trust are also responsible for "Springwatch" and Autumnwatch" as part of the UK Phenology Network, which records when natural events happen.

Eco Club regularly gets free trees and tree seed growing kits to plant, as part of the "Tree for all" scheme (in November and March) This is a scheme run by The Woodland Trust where children are encouraged to plant trees.

We are also registered as a BBC Breathing Places school so we receive emails and information packs from them with more good ideas in them for activities. This is free!

These are just a few of the resources I use. I have many feet of bookshelves full of books and info which I use in my environmental education work :-)

We start most Eco Club sessions with a game or two and here is the link to an an idea sheet I wrote in 2007 on playing environmental themed games. I use these games quite a lot and they are good fun(the children say so, so it MUST be true!).

We also make various craft things in Eco Club and Forest School sessions and here is an ideas sheet I wrote in 2007 on making craft items from natural materials ( bird feeders, mini beast houses, mobiles etc)

I used lots of these ideas when I worked for our local Nature Trust as an Environmental Play worker and have used them since in various places.

There are some very good books with ideas for all sorts of activities and games as well. “Sharing Nature with Children 1” and “Sharing Nature with Children 2” by Joseph Cornell are inspirational books as is “Natures Playground” by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield. Also “Earthwise” by Carol Petrash is very good. These are available from Amazon via the link at the top right of my personal website, or your local library may have them. The Woodcraft Folk Games Book is also very good, but I think that will have to be borrowed from a library. If your club joins the RSPB they provide very good guides on how to run a club with great ideas for things to do.

I hope this is all useful information :-) There is a lot of very useful and free stuff on the Internet, I hope these few links are helpful to anyone who either is thinking of helping at a club or just wants some interesting, fun stuff to do with their own children! The UK RSPB Wildlife Explorers Club and UK Nature Detective Club are not just for schools and youth groups, both offer family memberships which are also very good and again, I can personally vouch for that, as we are family members here at Compost Mansions.

So, now you have all this lovely information, why not go and play :-)AND if you can add to my list of useful resources please feel free, either via the comments box or by emailing me at