We were so impressed by all the fantastic things Isla has done to earn her Kestrel Award, we asked her to write about it for us.
Kestrel Award Coordinator
My Kestrel Award by Isla, aged 9
The Kestrel Award was a chance to explore wildlife on my doorstep in more detail. This is how it started...
When lockdown began last year we started going for walks, exploring along sheep fields and the Pevensey Levels. I also found the butterfly identification series by Michael Blencowe on the Sussex Wildlife Trust Youtube channel.
In August last year we went to Rye, mainly to visit Camber Castle. I ended up finding my first Clouded Yellow Butterfly and lots of different birds that I had not seen before. The day that I went to Camber Castle was the same day that the Swallowtail Butterfly was found, but sadly I did not find it. I came back this summer and saw the Swallowtails that had hatched at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and I have been back lots of times since. Going to Rye gave me inspiration to make my felt Avocet. Avocets have been one of my favourite birds since I first saw them there.
I have seen lots of exciting birds like Kittiwakes, Curlews, Avocets, a Marsh Tit, a Sedge Warbler and some Common Terns. At Splash Point we saw nesting Kittiwakes. I saw my first Marsh Tit during a bird count in my garden and we also had a young Grey Wagtail visiting our garden.
When I started my Kestrel Award I wrote a Goldfinch poem inspired by the Goldfinches that visit my garden. Next, I made a pressed flower collage using flowers that I collected from my Granny’s garden. I have always enjoyed doing lots of craft activities but through the Kestrel Award I have been able to combine craft with nature and I have done lots of nature themed projects.
At school this summer I did a presentation about the Kestrel Award and what I did to achieve it. The presentation was the final part of the award: ‘Shout About It’. My class really liked the bit about foxes and lots of them have Foxes in their gardens and see them most nights. I got my friends involved in The Big Butterfly Count and we saw lots of different butterfly species.
In my classroom we had a wildlife display, which I created, and a nature table. We raised Painted Lady caterpillars and released the butterflies just before half term. For the last term we had a wormery and we watched the worms make patterns with different colour sands. Next year at school I have been asked to help create a wildlife garden for the whole school.
One of the best bits of the award was creating my wildlife garden and pond. In the pond I have found two Great Diving Beetles and some Pond Snails. I have found lots of exciting things in my wildlife garden including a Brown Argus butterfly and an Elephant Hawk Moth (my favourite moth!). The award has also increased my confidence in talking to others and sharing my knowledge about subjects I am passionate about. I also monitored a local pond and recorded the events that happened at it this spring including two broods of Moorhens and a Nuthatch nest in the woods next to the pond.
If you would like to take on the challenge, please visit our Kestrel Award page