Saturday, 10 October 2015

Oct 10th Easton & Otley College

'Wild About Norfolk' fair at Easton & Otley College
Easton & Otley College is once again hosting 'Wild About Norfolk' which is a wildlife and environment fair featuring many of the big wildlife conservation charities as well as local groups. It is like the Norfolk Bird Fair I went to in May minus Bill Oddie or any other celebrity. It is much smaller than that event and is mostly indoors, but there is a lot more to do for families with children to do. This was a free event, but the venue was also having an open day on the same day, which caused slight confusion to us as we arrived. Most of the stands were inside on one half of the main college building, while a few unlucky stands were positioned outside in the rain. It was sensible then to visit the stands that were indoors first.


Dr Tony Leech shows us some fungi
This event was about Norfolk and its wildlife, so it wasn't surprising to find local experts, artists and volunteers from local nature reserves and conservation groups running all these stands. Some of them I knew personally and that includes Dr Tony Leech, an expert on fungi. He was helping out at one stand about, what else but fungi. He was talking to us about the toadstools laid out on the table in front of him with great passion. I will be seeing him again on Tuesday at Mousehold Heath for a fungi foray (starts at 2:30-4pm at Zak's car park if you are interested), which is always good fun.

Mum is shown some microscopic creatures found in a drain pipe
Animal bones on display
Though some of these stands were in classrooms, most of the others were in the college's main hall. The children here seemed to be having a lot of fun as they were interacting with the objects and equipment the local groups had out for them. This ranged from plant matter to animal skeletons to microscopes with small minibeasts for them to look at. There were quizzes and things to make too. I had a go at some of the ID quizzes where you match the animal's name with the object that belongs to them. I did well on the ones about birds and butterflies, but struggled with one for mammal poo. Inside the containers were various animal droppings. I managed to get a small percent of them correct on my own, but the others were quite tough.

The challenge before me - guess the poo!!
Challenge complete! (After some help that is)
No wildlife fair is complete without owl pellets to dissect
Harvest Mouse trying to escape!
The Butterfly Conservation had some moths on display
Water Spider
Water Stick Insect
Honey Bees
The Norfolk Badger Protection Group's stand (big fans of this blog!)
The RSPB tent
During a brief dry spell in the weather, we went outside to see some bird ringing and the birds of prey that were on display from a local falconry group. My colleagues from Strumpshaw Fen were busy manning the RSPB tent, so it was great to see how things were doing. A bit wet as it turns out, no thanks to the rain, but spirits were still high. Though Mum and I had done everything within a couple of hours, but I think families with children could be here until it closes. It was a fun yet educational day.

Bird ringing demonstration on a male Chaffinch
Releasing him back into the wild
Birds of prey on display
Little Owl

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