Buckhurst Hill Nature Trail
posted by: Joan Vine | on: Wednesday, 24 July 2019, 20:00
An update from Buckhurst Hill Mothers’ Union: Hi everyone, firstly thank you for all of your prayers for the ongoing work of MU world-wide. I have only been a member for about two years and I feel very privileged to be part of such a great band of lovely ladies, who are willing to serve God in a very practical way.
During this last academic year, we at Buckhurst Hill have tried to meet the needs of families in our local community, with the resources that are available to us. We had the idea to try and create something to use our outside space, so that families could spend time outside together in the world that God has created for us.
The Nature Trail: At St John’s we are very blessed to have such a large outdoor space as our church grounds. There are some areas of the church yard which cannot be used for burials/ashes for specific reasons. We already had a Labyrinth but there was space next to it where we dumped about a tonne of wood chips. After much raking, some levelling and also a lot of digging out of brambles and weeds, the Nature Trail is now complete. MU members raised £150 to provide the resources that the children use to become a “Nature Detective”. The response we have received from our congregation has been massive, with financial donations. One person even purchased 18 bird boxes for us! Our vicar (Rev Ian Farley) and churchyard maintenance volunteers gave us some extra man power too!
The trail takes about 45 mins to complete, but when we tested it with a group of children, in school years 1 – 5, they stayed for 2 hours, because after they had completed the trail, they went back to do their favourite thing again!
Upon entering the trail each family gets a bag (which they have to put back at the end of the trail), the bag contains:
- Clip board/pen/look and see sheet, to tick the things off that they have found/seen
- Bug hunting viewing pot
- Small bag of bird seed (to place on the bird table and later on in trail to do a bit of bird watching)
- Magnifying glass
- White plastic sheet (for seeing bugs that fall from trees/bushes when you shake a branch)
Here are some pictures for you all to see, but please do come and visit us if you can. No need to book, just turn up.
Since we opened in May, we have been adding new elements to the trail. We have added a mud pie making area and also a living camp (the camp is made of garden canes with runner beans growing up them) - everyone likes a “camp”!
We use natural materials and also have teaching aspects e.g. we have a hedgehog hide away with advice on how to care for them, should one wander in to your garden and we also have advice on how to encourage composting. We would like families to be good stewards of God’s earth.
The trail is not manned by MU members, as it’s open from 10am – dusk on a daily basis as we would like to encourage families to spend time together, when the time is right for them - without using I.T. based products (e.g. I pads).
We have a rough guide of how many people visit weekly, at the moment it’s about five families per week, but we can only estimate this by the number of Nature Detective sheets being used. MU members do some watering and also fill up the bird seed bags during the week, so if you could pray that when they do this, they could have a “God incidence meeting” with a family, that would be brilliant – thank you.
We are thinking of running some manned events, like “Hedgehog Awareness” and “Camp Building”, so your prayers would be welcome for that too.
Please do contact us if a Nature Trail is something that your MU would be interested in creating, we would love to meet up with you.
It was an absolute pleasure to attend the Epping Forest and Ongar MU Deanery Eucharist service. I was not brought up in faith and my church is quite informal with an amazing worship band, which I do love, but it was so wonderful to attend what I think would be called a “traditional” Church of England service. I felt personally inspired to continue in what we are doing in Buckhurst Hill, by all of the wonderful MU members within our Deanery, with our sole aim of spreading HIS word. Blessings and thanks to you all. Angie Blanche
Posted: 24 Jul 2019 | There are 0 comments
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