Last weekend we kicked off the festive season with our elf training workshops – a Christmas event with a twist!
First things first, the children learned all about animal footprints by making wrapping paper decorated with animal tracks.
We then went on to make “Seed Bombs” a mixture of wildflower seeds a, soil and clay that can be thrown into your garden come springtime. When these native wildflowers grow our Nature Elves will have a lovely display that’s great for insects and, importantly, pollinators. The insects will also provide food for our garden birds and amphibians, so these seed bombs really do go a long way to help nature!
Next, we made bird feeders shaped like snowmen. These are made of (almost) entirely natural products that can biodegrade in your garden – say if the birds are a little too peckish! We coppiced some trees that will rejuvenate in the coming years and crafted the body of our snowmen with them. After drilling holes into the snowmen the children were able to make a mixture of lard and bird seeds that will ensure our garden birds can find a nutritious meal even on the coldest of days.
If you want to help the birds in a similar way don’t feel you have to have seed out every day. I always like to make sure there are seeds available when the thick snow arrives, and a bowl of water to keep the birds hydrated. A good tip is to place a ping pong ball in a bowl of water, the movement of the ball in a light breeze is often enough to stop the water from freezing.
Lastly we made Reindeer Food. Now we know that the only true Reindeer in Scotland are found in the Cairngorms… but for Santa’s sake we kept that a secret. Our food is made entirely of natural materials, like lichen, herbs and fern, and can be scattered in your garden on Christmas Eve without you having to worry about any environmental damage! Even biodegradable glitter isn’t great for our wild animals, so instead of buying Reindeer food why not make your own natural mix and have a magical (and wildlife friendly) Christmas this year!
Jenny Mann, Falls of Clyde Assistant Ranger
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