The Summer Night Walk took place at the end of the school term and was a great success! Funded by a grant from the Ernest Cook Trust, this was the second in a series of three walks involving year 5 pupils from Dovecote Primary in Clifton.
Pupils again worked with the Ignite! team, artist Chrys Allen and volunteers from the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University and the STEM Ambassadors programme, but were also joined this time by outdoor education specialist Claire Simpson.
We began with the poem 'A Blade of Grass' by Brian Patten, to encourage the pupils to recognise the beauty in the ordinary and to look more closely at things they wouldn't usually think twice about.
The walk started going past the lake and through the rookery area of the park, where pupils used binoculars and magnifying glasses to explore the wildlife. There were many differences in the park since the Spring Night Walk such as many more flowers and bright colours, but the wooded area was still dark because of the thick canopy of leaves.
The walk then opened up in a meadow area, where microscopes lent to us by the Royal Microscopical Society were set up on a bench. Pupils were able to look even more closely at objects they found, observing the fine hairs on grass stems, the intricacies of seed heads and the different stages of a flower opening up. They were able to explore the area, finding toads and spiders and reflected quietly, using words and drawings to convey their interpretations of what they had seen.
Finally, we took a few minutes to lie down in the long grass and listen quietly to the sounds of the park, both natural (the wind through the trees, birds singing) and man made (whispering, aeroplanes, even a marching band!).
Thanks to Chris the park ranger, all the volunteers and to Chrys and Claire for supporting us in developing a walk which was so rich in deep observation of our experience of the natural world.