22 April 2024

Juniors and Students offered a free ticket to the natural world

A local charity has launched a scheme to help get young people interested in the outdoors and nature.

A local Salisbury charity, the Salisbury and District Natural History Society (SDNHS), aims to encourage juniors and students from ages six to 21 to get more involved in nature by offering them free membership.

To launch this new free scheme, the Society is holding a free taster day at River Bourne Community Farm in Laverstock, Salisbury, on Thursday, 24th August 2023.

The event will run from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm.

This action-packed taster morning will offer many fascinating activities designed to spark an interest in the students taking part.

These will include river dipping, and investigating river wildlife, including aquatic insects and fish. This part of the event will be run by the Wessex River Trust.

Eight-year-old Louis enjoys his wildlife experiences.

Other opportunities will include sweep netting to discover the insect life in grassland habitats such as grasshoppers, ladybirds and, spiders. Moth trapping and being involved in the release of a catch of amazing moths is also another immediate winner.

Participants can witness and perhaps hold some of the 2,500 colourful and sometimes huge moths in the UK.

The Society will also have on hand a professional microscope. Peering into this highly technical piece of kit opens a new world as the incredible detail of tiny insects or moths is brought to life.

Seventeen-year-old Izzy Fry is a typical example of a young student who has taken to natural history and the environment in a huge way and has even established her own photographic website devoted to wildlife. She said, “Joining the society has been a game-changer for me, and I just love being involved.

“It has also helped me to decide on a future career path and a degree course. I would recommend joining the society to all young people as there are many experts working in a wide range of wildlife fields, and they are all very enthusiastic to answer questions and to share their knowledge.”

Recent research clearly shows that having access to green spaces and getting down and dirty while learning more about our natural world has mental and physical health benefits for the younger generation.

This is the reason that the SDNHS is doing its bit to offer young students better access to nature.

Pete Thompson, Chair of the Society, is a well-known speaker on wildlife and said, “This is a very exciting moment for us. Young people have a wonderful ability to absorb knowledge like a sponge, and we hope by taking up our free membership offer it will benefit their health and mental well-being.

Nature and the natural environment is a whole new world that can be enormously beneficial and fascinating. Come to our launch. Give it a go and see what floats your boat!”

This new initiative is particularly timely because, in 2025, schools will start to teach a new GCSE in natural history, so joining S&DNHS will stand them in good stead by learning about wildlife in its natural environment in a fun and informal way.

Regular field trips organised with experts will allow students to learn more about our wonderful wild spaces and share the joy of experiencing all forms of nature.

Pete Thompson explains, “We hope that by becoming a junior or student member of the Society it will help to trigger a life-long love affair with nature and perhaps the impetus to develop an exciting career path in the future.

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns