I'm back writing blogs again, my new website is up and working (hopefully) and I'll be trying to update the galleries as much as possible along with my blogs.
So, how are we all? Are you well? I thought you were! (Radio 1 joke) the weather has been all over the show the last few weeks and its had a bit of a devastating effect on our wildlife, especially nesting birds, however the next few weeks seem to be a little better so I'm hopeful the wildlife can bounce back! How's the weather been for you?
OK, so, back to the blog. You may remember back in January I announced I'd be going on tour with free classroom sessions in April and May. I was on a mission to get children in schools up and down Scotland to fall in love with Insects and Arachnids. These 30/45 minute sessions consisted of me having a discussions with students of all ages. We discussed Climate Breakdown, Insect Decline and the importance of insects and arachnids in our world, Plastic Pollution, deforestation and the effects of palm oil plantations.
These sessions were really laid back, for the younger kids I kept it nice and easy, for the older kids I was a bit more hard hitting with some of the facts and information, and let me tell you, some of those kids were completely unaware of the current state of our planet, not only that, a good 30/40% didn't actually believe Insects and Arachnids were crucial to our survival, but I already knew this would be the case and that's why I started the tours in the first place.
Every school I visited were however doing something to address and tackle the current problems our planet is facing, and that was really encouraging to see and to witness first hand.
Over April and May I spoke with over 1500 children from ages 5-15, I travelled just over approx 550 miles (probably more). I averaged 20/25 hours sleep a week if I was lucky, often getting up early from the night shift sleep and heading out around Scotland with a car full of facts, information, caffeine and amazing Insects. I handed out hundreds of packets of wildflower seeds to each school which were donated by Grow Wild and promised them that if they created a wild space in the school grounds, a place where wildlife can flourish and feel safe then I would enter them into my tour competition where they could win a huge bundle of wildlife goodies. I had biodegradable stickers ready for each student who was ready to get involved (I actually ran out towards the end) and packs of cards donated by the incredible Birdwing.eu for the star students. It was AMAZING. The conversations were eye opening for both me and the students.
So, I mentioned I had a car full of insects, with each session I brought along some amazing Insects for the students to get up close and personal with. They consisted of various Praying Mantis, Leaf Insects and Stick Insects. Most children in the schools had seen a Stick Insect before, But not Praying Mantis or Leaf Insects, their minds were blown! They were fascinated, they couldn't get enough, they were hooked!!
To see that fascination and interest develop right in front of my eyes had me leaving each school grinning from ear to ear, it's what dragged me out of bed the next day after the 12 hour night shift, it's what inspired me to break through my bad days and drive for 2 hours to another school putting in my last £30 from the bank into fuel. I could see first hand I was inspiring these kids, I would leave each classroom knowing I had just armed these kids with enough knowledge and information to go out there a make a difference. We went from students being scared of Insects to now holding them, inspecting them closely and being in awe of them. Even some of the teachers combated their fears and got up close with the Insects.
A lot of people asked me 'why?' Why am I doing this, giving up my time, money and energy. I simply sent them these photos. LOOK AT THEIR FACES!!!
In all seriousness, we should ALL do our bit :
More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered.
Nature is declining at rates we've never seen before, and it's getting worse.
Climate breakdown is HAPPENING NOW, almost every year for the last 18 has been the hottest on record.
The pH of our oceans is becoming more acidic.
Since 1970 Humanity has wiped out 60% of Wildlife.
Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans. There may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean. Weighing up to 269,000 tonnes. Plastics consistently make up 60 to 90% of all marine debris studied.
I'm shaking my head as I write this, its actually confusing how the majority of the world just don't care. It really is going to become a case of too little too late if we don't ACT NOW!
Have I 'single-handedly' saved the world by doing these tours? Of course not.
Have I done my 'bit'? Not by a long shot.
Have I inspired some children and educated them so they can make a difference? You bet your ass I have! And I won't stop!
Next year I plan to do this tour bigger and better. This year I had hundreds of email requests to visit schools up and down the UK. Financially I had to commit to Scotland, next year however I will try my best to spend a few days down south visiting schools. Not only that, I will be adding a BioBlitz session to each school I visit. I hope to get some funding, from somewhere to help offset the costs a little.
Please Please Please just take that extra few minutes to think about your lifestyle, we are on a downward spiral, we need to ACT, we need to CHANGE, we need to SAVE THIS PLANET.
I'll be back with a blog about the BioBlitz Tour very soon...........
Special Mentions to the following people for supporting me on this tour, please go visit them and give them some love!
Praying Mantis Donated by Unseen Universe
Stickers and Prints Donated by S66 Media
Wildflower Seeds Donated by Grow Wild
Information sheets Donated by Butterfly Conservation
Bird Inspired Playing Cards Donated by Birdwing EU
Click the names for website links :)