Nature in focus - minus the wellies!

WHAT you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts. I belong to a generation which went on nature walks at primary school. Holding hands with a partner we would trudge, in a welly-booted crocodile, through nearby wooded lanes, collecting specimens for the green-baize nature table back in our classroom.

WHAT you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts. I belong to a generation which went on nature walks at primary school. Holding hands with a partner we would trudge, in a welly-booted crocodile, through nearby wooded lanes, collecting specimens for the green-baize nature table back in our classroom.

I was thinking of those days when I read about East Ruston Infant School's webcam.

They've placed it in the lid of a nestbox in their grounds which is home to a pair of blue tits and their clutch of 10 eggs.

Children are able to view the nest in intricate detail via an interactive whiteboard in their classroom. Such things were beyond the wildest imaginings of my mac-and-wellies woodland wanderings.


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We would lay our crushed little offerings on the table for teacher to make wilted flower arrangements out of drooping pussy willows and balding cow parsley which seemed to stay there until the next walk, usually in autumn.

The time-consuming demands of the National Curriculum, plus our old friends health and safety, mean that nature walks are largely a thing of the past in schools

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today.

But at least East Ruston pupils will be able to watch the tits' triumphs and tragedies - and with 10 eggs there will be some of those - close up and daily.

And maybe this excellent school, with its eco-schools' Green Flag award, is able to cram the odd ramble into its timetable.

I hope so, because nothing

quite beats being under the trees, filling your pockets with damp moss and kneeling in the mud to watch wood lice and beetles scurry off when you lift up their log.

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