A BIG thank you

Thanks to generous funding from the Cornwall Local Action Group, over the past three years the RSPB has been running Chough Clubs for children in West Cornwall.  Small groups of children from Landewednack, Mullion,St Just, and Pendeen primary schools have attended regular Chough Club sessions which are run on the principles of enquiry based learning and focus on teaching science in a fun and interactive way.  Much of the teaching, being outdoors on the cliffs, has meant not only have the children developed a sound base of knowldege but also an understanding, appreciation and bond with nature near where they live.  Catherine Lee who has led this innovative project has also visited other schools in the area introducing children to nature and the world of choughs. After one of Cat's visits St Buryan Academy adopted the chough as their emblem,  the Academy minibus is spectacular!

This funding also meant we were able to show choughs to local people and visitors alike from our dedicated chough watchpoint at Southerly Point.  Over the years we have spoken to thousands of people, many of whom return time and time again to see how the birds are doing and learn more adbout their conservation.

As the funding for this has now ended sadly we can no longer run Chough Clubs but we are looking into how we can develop an education programme in the future to inspire children in Cornwall.

St Buryan Academy
St Buryan Little Choughs

St Buryan Academy minbus
Now that's a very smart minibus!

Chough Club at Botallack

Science on the beach - what a great way to learn

Thank you to our funders

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Chough Club take part in the Big Schools Birdwatch

The Big Garden Birdwatch is the world's biggest wildlife survey, with millions of people taking part every year. The RSPB also runs the Big Schools Birdwatch, which many schools across the UK take part in every year. (http://www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch/)

Birdwatch HQ

Birdwatch HQ

 

The Lizard Chough Club at Landewednack Primary School took part again this year, and had the 'roving rook' at top of their 2013 list, with a total of eight rooks being seen together during the hour long survey.

Big Schools Birdwatch

As well as monitoring the type and number of birds visiting the school grounds, the Chough Club also had fun learning the names, numbers and colours of some of the common garden birds in Cornish: another of the many skills these young ambassadors for nature are developing to support Cornish Wildlife.

Cornish Lessons

Chough Olympics at Lafrowda

Chough Olympics at Lafrowda 2012
Chough Olympic Stall at Lafrowda 2012

In July, we  were pleased to be asked to join in with the Lafrowda celebrations. In keeping with this year's theme for Lafrowda, (the Alternative Olympics), we hosted the 'Chough Olympics'; a range of traditional carnival games specially adapted with a chough theme.

Debi 'tots' up the scores
Debi 'tots' up the scores

There was information and fun for all the family. Alongside a vibrant display we had  'leatherjacket welly-wanging', 'Olympic beanbag tossing', a 'chough food race', an 'egg trail' and 'guess how many leatherjackets in the cowpat' competition, (which was not quite as smelly as it sounds with a specially crafted papier-mâché cowpat stuffed with jelly beans).

Leather Jacket Welly Wanging
Leather Jacket Welly Wanging

Both local children and visitors had a fantastic time in the Plen-an-Gwarry returning to the stall throughout the afternoon to play the various Chough-Olympic games, through which they also learned about conservation. Although the Chough-Olympic games were not easy, over 20 medals were awarded, and there are now some very proud children sporting their chough medals.

Chough Olympic Winners - Lafrowda 2012
Chough Olympic Winners - Pictured from left to right Annabel, William and Thomas. Thomas was the overall winner scoring an impressive 177 points.

St Buryan Academy Parade as Choughs at Lafrowda 2012
St Buryan Academy Parade as Choughs at Lafrowda 2012

Chough Project Officer Catherine Lee said  'It was a fantastic day, we have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and knowledge of local children, and their curiosity about choughs and some really important and complicated conservation issues. It was great to see so many children enjoying the games, proof that learning can be fun!  One of the day's highlights, was seeing a giant chough paraded through the centre of St Just followed by a chattering* of little choughs from St Buryan Academy who have recently adopted the chough as their school emblem. It is great to see so many people becoming passionate about the choughs, they really are a very special bird.'

*Chattering is the collective noun for chough.

The RSPB's education work in Cornwall is being delivered through the Local Action For Rural Communities Programme by the West Cornwall Local Action Group on behalf of the South West of England Regional Development Agency with Defra as the Managing Authority, and is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for European Development 2007-2013: Europe investing in rural areas.

West Cornwall Local Action Group