School Tours 2021 - Mental Health & BioBlitz

Hi Everyone,


I'm back with another blog post.


Back in 2019 I went on tour to schools in Scotland, if by some chance you missed it then the blog is here (Click me). My mission was simple, to educate and inspire, and I'm pretty confident I succeeded. Result!


This year I want to do it again, covid pending, but with a slightly different emphasis. I'll be heading out to schools up and down Scotland only this time there will be TWO different tours.






TOUR 1 - Mental Health and Wellbeing - May 2021


Tour 1 will be concentrating on our children's mental health. The covid pandemic has hit us all hard, theres no question about it. As adults, we have reached the point in our lives where we may have established known coping mechanisms and strategies to help us with our mental health challenges, and that is a huge help during times like we are experiencing now. However our children have not had chance to learn this. Our children's mental health right now is being challenged so hard, and the impacts of the lockdown may not come to fruition for years to come. We need to understand whats going on, and how they're feeling. Children may not even know themselves, they will be confused, anxious and stressed, often displaying as tiredness and high emotional outbursts.


My goal with tour 1 is simple, I want to help every child I possibly can learn to understand how there mind is working. I want to show them coping mechanisms, I want to make them feel a little more relaxed about the future, I want them to understand that how they're feeling right now is nothing to be ashamed of, Let's encourage them, let's reassure them.


The sessions will be hopefully be held in the classroom, and I'll need some type of projector to show my slides. I'll be teaching coping mechanisms and strategies that they can use to help and ease the pressure on their mental health. I'll be showing them exactly how I use these same methods to help my own mental health, with an emphasis on nature and wildlife and the links between that and our mental health. These sessions will be designed for children but adults can definitely use them too.


I plan to run this throughout May in between my working days, when Children are back in school. All covid precautions will be adhered to, whats more, I can be tested weekly for covid at my workplace. So you can be rest assured I will not turn up if there is a risk to anyone.


I can also offer zoom sessions if this is something that may appeal more.


If you would like a visit, and its completely free, then drop me an email to mattd2012@yahoo.com.








TOUR 2 - BioBlitz Sessions - AUG/SEP 2021



Now, some of you may be thinking 'What's a BioBlitz?' Well, let me tell you, The BioBlitz was First developed by Sam Droege in the USA in 1996, BioBlitzes are now held regularly in many countries and have been taking place in the UK since 2006. According to Wikipedia a BioBlitz is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists and volunteers conduct an intensive field study over a continuous time period (e.g., usually 24 hours).


We won't be as long as that description, basically we will pick an area in your school grounds or nearby and we will spend approximately 1-2 hours surveying the area seeing what wildlife we can find. This is a great informal and fun learning opportunity. Children and teachers get to go outside (teachers secretly cheering) and spend some time with the local wildlife, learning all about in the process. You will be amazed at just what can be discovered. A treasure trove of nature goodies awaits.





I will be bringing some sweep nets, pots, trays, books, a spotting scope and some check lists for the pupils to use. Come rain or shine we will still go ahead so please make sure pupils have adequate clothing.


This year I'm hoping to be accompanied on some BioBlitzs by Ashleigh Whiffin. Ashleigh is Assistant Curator of Entomology at National Museums Scotland.





OK, so this all sounds great yes? Now you're thinking about costs.....IT'S FREE!!!


Yes, that's correct, there is no charge, well maybe a sandwich and a coffee :)


Dates will be released soon, most likely the tour will run over the months of August and September, Covid Pending.


I'm very excited and I can't wait to start the tour.


Please could all schools wishing to take part email me at mattd2012@yahoo.com , it would also be great if you could download iRecord App before my visit so we can upload our data.


Thanks


Matt







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