Going Wild about Scotland through February 2018

12/03/2018 in RZSS

February was a short but busy month for the Wild about Scotland team. We started with visits to West Dumbartonshire and Kilbowie Primary Schools. We had a fun whole-school assembly and chatted about endangered animals with the classes afterwards. The following week we were back home around East and Midlothian and City of Edinburgh visiting Aberlady, Pentland Primary as a part of their STEM week, Sacred Heart and Cockenzie Primary Schools. Throughout the week we heard some great ideas from pupils about how we can help look after and protect our local environment. Some of our favourite ideas are:

“For every tree you cut down, you should plant another ten”

“Have a bin decorating competition so people are more likely to use them”

“Making all schools just use recycled paper”

“Stop using plastic straws and pick up litter, even if it doesn’t belong to you”

During the middle of the month we headed to Kirkton of Largo, the school was celebrating a Scottish themed day and Inzievar Primary School in Fife. Then back to South Lanarkshire to teach at Udston, St Cuthbert’s, St Columbkilles, Rigside and Carluke primaries. A big thank you to all the staff and pupils who came on board the bus. We really hope you enjoyed your day with us! This month we have been working on revamping our mini-beast sessions. We love getting out with pupils to explore their school grounds to see what creatures we can discover! From the beginning of March these are available to book for P1 through to P7.

For our final week of February, we were away again for the week to Renfrewshire, visiting Fordbank and Gallowhill schools. We were once again joined by Laura from RSPB who shared her expertise and knowledge on Scottish wildlife and education with us. Unfortunately, our week was cut short by the “Beast from the East” and the snow made for an interesting journey back to Edinburgh with us all in the bus! Thank you to Dave, our fabulous driver, for braving the elements (and the M8) to get us back safely, without him we might well still be stuck!

Whilst we struggled in the winter weather, the same cannot be said for some of our cold adapted Scottish species! If there was ever a prize awarded for Scotland’s toughest bird, the ptarmigan would be our chilly champion wings down.

Photo - The Wild about Scotland bus and support car outside Fordbank Primary School.

The ptarmigan is a member of the grouse family, and this fantastic little bird changes its plumage throughout the year to match its surroundings, thus providing camouflage and giving it the best chance of avoiding predators. Not only do they look the part, ptarmigans are also physically prepared for snowy terrain. The soles of their feet are feathered, which act as snowshoes to enable them to walk without slipping, and to retain heat. I think we all could have done with an adaptation like that last week!

Looking forward, we will be heading to the Edinburgh International Science Festival in April. Last year it was a great success, with over 1,800 people hopping on board the Wild about Scotland bus during the two-week event, to find out all about Scottish biodiversity and RZSS native conservation projects.

Make sure you come and see us this year and have a go at identifying Scottish wildcats, building a beaver dam and guessing the animal skulls. The bus will visit different venues around Edinburgh throughout the festival. We will be at:

  • Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh: Monday 9 - Tuesday 10 April
  • Edinburgh Zoo: Wednesday 11 April
  • Summerhall: Thursday 12 - Friday 13 April
  • North Edinburgh Arts: Saturday 14 April

Next month will see us on our first big trip away of the year to the West coast. We will be visiting schools around Oban for a week and then onto the Isles of Mull and Iona, and to Morvern- Scottish wildcat territory! Look out for us on the roads and ferries!

See you next month,

Rosie & Annabeth 


Top teacher comment for this month:

Delivery of the two learning sessions very clear, pupils engaged and enjoyed learning about the beavers. Great visuals and beaver items for touch and feel.” St Columbkille’s Primary School


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