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8 Easy Ways To Get The Most Out Of Big Schools’ Birdwatch 2023

8 Easy Ways To Get The Most Out Of Big Schools’ Birdwatch 2023

Thanks to Debbie from Affinity Agency for this guest blog.

 


 

The RSPB’s Big Schools’ Birdwatch is a great opportunity to get your kids outdoors and help them connect to nature by observing birds in their habitat. In this article, we’ll take a look at:
  • When Big Schools’ Birdwatch takes place this year
  • 8 easy ways you can get involved 
  • How to support nature in your garden and school


Ready to get outdoors and immerse yourself and the kids in nature whilst helping birds in your local area thrive? Keep reading as we show you how...

When Big Schools’ Birdwatch takes place this year

The RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch runs from the 6th of January until the 20th of February. That’s a good month and a half of birdwatching, so sign up and send in your results before the closing date.


It is a fantastic opportunity to teach your pupils about British birds and other nature and wildlife. You can show the children how to support and encourage growth in bird numbers and how they work with other animals and wildlife to thrive. It’s a chance to get young people engaged with nature and the environment in a fun and different way and help them identify a range of British garden birds.


Eight easy ways you can get involved 


1. Sign up

The best way to get involved in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch is to sign up on the RSPB website and request the support pack. According to their website, this pack comes with survey sheets and handy ID resources, but they are limited in supply, so what can you do if they’ve run out?


2. Download resources

Use other resources such as the RSPB downloadable sheets, which include historical data, survey sheets, stories and lesson plans, and bird food recipes and activity sheets. These are free to download and provide teachers with ideas to help engage their students in the count. 


3. Do It Yourself

Finding your own tools and materials is another option if you missed out on registration. There’s no doubt that your school library includes books on British Wildlife that could help you identify birds and other flora, fauna, creatures and critters on the school grounds. You’ll likely find loads of fiction books or guided reading options too. Next, see if you can find some second-hand binoculars for the kids to use throughout the day, or ask around to borrow a birdbox camera you can set up near your birdfeeders to catch all the action when you and your class aren’t there.


4. Get Messy

Hold a bird food recipe class and teach your students about the different ingredients and how they benefit the birds you’ve seen. This is a fun and engaging activity for the kids as they can get messy and watch the birds enjoy all their new and tasty food. 

Great and Blue Tit Feeding at a bird feeder
A Great Tit and a Blue Tit Feeding at a bird feeder

5. Be Artistic

Creating posters is a great way to help your pupils reflect on the wildlife they’ve seen. Why not split it up by birds, flowers, insects and other wildlife, then display them on the classroom wall to support their learning throughout the rest of the year?
Helping them create these posters, remember all the information and be reminded of it when they come to class delivers repetition and supports their learning.


6. Carry it through

Carrying the birdwatch values throughout the year is a great option that supports many different aspects of the KS1 and KS2 curricula. From learning about habitats to garden pets and more, the birdwatch sets the stage for a year’s worth of learning and can support additional lessons for months to come. 


For example:
Life cycles – why not install a bird box near your feeders with a camera inside and see if you can follow their life cycle? This can be supported with in-class learning using the Life Cycles Planning Pack.
Plant power – When the weather warms up, you could create a class garden and help the children grow their own and support the insects using the Growing Plants series
Environments – Ask them to observe their gardens at home throughout the year and see what animals and plants they discover. Combined with the Living in Habitats pack and the Pets and Garden pack, it will help show them how different creatures and flowers thrive in different environments and habitats and potentially lead them to further environmental learning.


7. Take part in other wildlife activities

If your children love the birdwatch, why not get involved in other nature-related challenges throughout the year? There are loads of resources out there that are suitable for young children – for example, Wildlife Watch has loads of activity sheets for use throughout the year. There are also Pollinator countsNo Mow MayThe Big Butterfly Count and more. 


8. Organise a school trip

Your School field and playground may be limited in terms of nature and wildlife, so why not see if you can organise a school trip to a local nature reserve or national park or find out if there is a forest school workshop you could all attend for the day?

This will help your students see loads of wildlife in their original habitats and learn all about how we can work together to help nature thrive.

Children on a school trip looking for birds
Children on a school trip looking for birds


How to support nature in your garden and school

Nature and wildlife are under threat from industrial development, reduced green areas, and so much more, but there are things we can do to help:

  • Set up bird and wildlife feeding areas
  • Encourage more green spaces and wildlife-friendly planting areas
  • Build bird boxes, hedgehog houses and bug hotels
  • Get the school to use eco-friendly cleaning and gardening materials
  • Encourage recycling and composting
  • Set up a class gardening project
  • Have a walk-to-school scheme to reduce emissions
  • Become more energy aware

The Big Schools’ Birdwatch is a chance for you to engage your students in nature and get them thinking about other creatures and their actions. There are many lessons to be learnt across the school year that begin with this, so sign up, do it yourself and bring nature into your learning when you can.

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