Taking advantage of the recent excellent weather, Biosphere Explorers took the John Muir Award students from Castle Douglas High School to Threave Estate to experience a mature, broad-leaved woodland. The pupils have been working towards improving the small patch of woodland in the school grounds for wildlife, and the trip to Threave showed them how amazing and biodiverse such a wood can be.
The walk along the old railway line to Lamb Island was full of spring flowers and Orange Tip butterflies. The pupils discussed the history of the railway line and its new function as a wildlife haven, and were also interested to see the old canals which were very important for transporting marl (a fertiliser) in the 18th Century.
Lamb Island was tranquil and buzzing with insects. At the bird hide, the Project Officer led a discussion about the importance of biodiversity, and the pupils were amazed to watch wasps chewing the wood of the hide itself to build their nests. Due to the combined noise of 20 children eating crisps, the wasps were the only wildlife that was spotted, but the extensive list of birds and mammals written up inside the hide showed that the potential for wildlife-spotting at Threave is unparalleled. There are seven species of bat found on the estate, and the children have been inspired to create a bat-friendly habitat in their own school woodland.