20 August 2012

Sparking a Passion for Wildlife

The Froglife team has had a busy few days at Bird Fair, the big annual event for conservation and wildlife lovers from across the world based at Rutland Water. To tie in with Froglife’s My Wild Life project, we had a vintage theme with staff and volunteers in 1940s-style dress as we collected stories from people about their earliest encounters with nature.
Froglife's vintage pic-nic themed stand
Some of the team with Froglife Patron Mike Dilger
The stall was also decorated with our collection of books, toys and nature table items to prompt reminiscence and trips down memory lane. My Wild Life, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is gathering memories from different generations about how much time children play outside, the animals we’re likely to meet out and about, and adventures such as climbing trees or collecting frogspawn. We’re comparing experiences across the generations, and gathering oral histories that show the changes in our behaviour and the abundance of wildlife in living memory.

With so many passionate wildlife watchers at Bird Fair, this was a great opportunity for us to gather some stories about what kick starts a deep love and fascination with nature.  There were also some high profile wildlife lovers for the team to talk to.

Froglife’s Patron Mike Dilger was interviewed by young volunteer Amy about what got him started on the road to the One Show naturalist. Wildlife Ambassadors and other volunteers also chatted to writer Mark Avery and photographer Mark Cawardine about formative moments in their lives. We talked to lots of people who had shared some precious wildlife memories, including a botanist who remembers going out identifying wildflowers with a plant-loving mum and an enthusiastic gardener who created a newt pond from a bath tub as a child.

Collecting tadpoles in jam jars - a memory shared on our bunting
A big thank you to the everyone involved in making our stand look so stunning, and to everyone who came and shared their stories. We will be screening the final DVD of My Wild Life interviews early in 2013 and it will be accompanied by a book of memories, so watch this space for more information.

Photos: Sam Taylor and Laura Brady

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