Blog Post: Let’s get hands on

Did you know that here at Fairhaven Lake we deliver hands on outdoor education on the estuary, lakes and garden to nearly 2000 children from the Northwest every year? The £1.46 million Heritage Lottery Funded project in conjunction with Fylde Borough Council has provided a whole new suite of fantastic facilities. Where we once ran our school visits from the rather small combined retail and education centre, we are now blessed with an entire space to ourselves. The Watersports Centre next door to the newly re-vamped RSPB shop and Visitor Centre is purpose built and hosts excellent facilities with ample toilets, handwashing facilities, and storage. The purpose-built classrooms are light and airy and await the sounds and buzz of children. Being on the Ribble Estuary graces us with an exclusive suite of sessions too. Our most acclaimed and popular sessions are our Mud Habitat Study sessions. We don wellies and trudge through the unique environment that are the mudflats of the Ribble Estuary. It’s like nothing that many children have ever seen before and makes a fantastic comparison to other habitats they have studied in their school grounds. The specific adaptations of the creatures that live here are immediately obvious and through touching, identifying, and observing, children quickly work out why the creatures have evolved to be so. Food chains and ecosystems are also discussed. The awe evident on the faces of the children as they watch cockles and peppery furrow shells (or scrobicularia) burrow back into their damp world is something I will never tire of. Being coastal, we make the most of it. Our popular sessions for key stages 1 and 2 are beach based. Our sessions take in the physical and human aspects of the landscape and include the identification of coastal wildlife. Teamwork and engineering is also incorporated. This week as well as our coastal sessions with Cleveland Preparatory School from Bolton w e've had a closer look at the birds and their adaptations with Manor Beach Primary School from Thornton Cleveleys. As well as visits from schools closer to home, we also receive visits from schools from all over the Northwest. Many children are experiencing the coast for the first time - the feel of the sand, the sound of the sea, and this vibrant habitat buzzing with life. It’s not just a trip out. For many, it is a new life experience and that’s what our outdoor education is all about. Touching, feeling, seeing, and smelling real life in real places and making connections to the world we live in. For further information about our sessions, please see our website: https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-teachers/school-trips/fairhaven-lake/ For more information, please contact: Jo Taylor (Learning and Visitor Experience Officer) jo.taylor@rspb.org.uk