Children unearthing a world on the wild side

From left, Josh Ballard, six, Max Ballard, eight, and Arun Baggett, eight, try pond dipping with project manager Andy Gunn

From left, Josh Ballard, six, Max Ballard, eight, and Arun Baggett, eight, try pond dipping with project manager Andy Gunn

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

A NEW project aims to celebrate an estate’s wildlife.

Wild Oxford is a two-year project run by The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), that will take place on three sites in the city including Rose Hill’s Rivermead Nature Park.

The scheme works with adults and children to take on practical conservation work and recognise the wildlife of their area.

Members of Rose Hill Junior Youth Club will take part in a weekly wildlife and bushcraft project throughout this year, led by BBOWT project manager Andy Gunn.

There will be pond dipping, bug hunting and identification, shelter building, bushcraft techniques, campfire cooking and barbecues and a visit from a barn owl handler with his owl.

Rose Hill youngsters Josh and Max Ballard met Mr Gunn to find out about the project. Josh, six, said: “I had a really great time at the reserve, and loved doing the pond dipping. It’s amazing that there is another world that we can explore in there.

“I can’t wait to go again and hope to learn more about campfire cooking.”

Max, eight, said: “It was brilliant and I learned a lot. I can’t believe we’re going to get to meet an owl.”

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Rose Hill community worker Fran Gardner said: “The Rose Hill Lottery team is delighted to be able to have the opportunity to work in partnership with Andy Gunn.

“We know that once we start this project, which will run right through the summer, that the kids are just going to absolutely love it and have such a range of activities available to them.”

Rivermead Nature Park in Rivermead Road is a three-hectare site of wet woodland that drops down to the River Thames.

The Wild Oxford project is also taking place in Lye Valley in Headington and Chilswell Valley in Boars Hill.

It is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through a grant of £54,800, and a grant of £7,100 from TOE2, the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment with funds from Grundon Waste Management.

The first Junior Youth Club trips to the reserve are on Wednesday, March 5, and Thursday, March 6.

To find out more, call or text Fran Gardner on 07770 324277.

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