Life­long af­fair with out­doors

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

A BIG part of the Lan­cashire Wildlife Trust plan is to get chil­dren in­ter­ested and in­volved in na­ture.

Our en­gage­ment and ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cers are out ev­ery week­end com­ing up with bril­liant ideas to drag fam­i­lies out of their homes and into the wilds of the north west.

It is great to see school kids get­ting ab­so­lutely muddy at our For­est Schools pro­ject in Mos­ton, in­stead of be­ing dragged round the shops by their mums and dads.

I agree with the the­ory that by get­ting chil­dren out into woods and fields you are help­ing them to live a health­ier lifestyle, both now and in the fu­ture.

I be­lieve, although I have no sci­en­tific ev­i­dence to prove this, that the im­mune sys­tems of many young peo­ple have never been so low.

Take the re­cent in­juries to the young­sters from gi­ant hog­weed in Bolton.

They broke the stems of the plant and sap got on to their skin, this then burned them in sun­light leav­ing se­ri­ously nasty in­juries.

When I was a kid we used to break these plants and use their hol­low stems as pre­tend tele­scopes and peashoot­ers but you never heard any sto­ries of peo­ple re­act­ing badly to the sap.

The point I am mak­ing is that get­ting kids to ex­pe­ri­ence the mud and muck of na­ture may strengthen their im­mune sys­tems. Get­ting them to meet some of our na­tive wildlife might stop them be­ing so fright­ened for years to come.

For ex­am­ple, the safest way to deal with a wasp in au­tumn is to re­main calm, not to flail around like a wind­mill an­noy­ing the lit­tle blighters who take ex­cep­tion to be­ing slapped across a pub din­ing area.

So ed­u­cat­ing fam­i­lies in what’s best to ap­proach and avoid in the wild is the best way for­ward. And once they fall in love with the coun­try­side there will be no hold­ing them back.

To sup­port the work of the Wildlife Trust for Lan­cashire, Manch­ester and North Mersey­side, text WILD09 with the amount you want to do­nate to 70070. The Wildlife Trust for Lan­cashire, Manch­ester and North Mersey­side is ded­i­cated to the pro­tec­tion and pro­mo­tion of the wildlife in Lan­cashire, seven bor­oughs of Greater Manch­ester and four of Mersey­side, all ly­ing north of the River Mersey. It man­ages around 40 na­ture re­serves and 20 lo­cal na­ture re­serves cov­er­ing acres of wood­land, wet­land, up­land and meadow. The trust has 27,000 mem­bers and more than 1,200 vol­un­teers. To be­come a mem­ber of the trust, go to the web­site at www. lanc­swt.org.uk or call 01772 324129. For more in­for­ma­tion about Cheshire Wildlife Trust, call 01948 820728 or visit the web­site at cheshirewil­dlifetrust. org.uk.

●● You should re­main calm around wasps

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