Prince Charles gives lockdown families ideas for half-term nature fun in your neighbourhood

1 month ago 6

PRINCE Charles has set a series of nature trails and fun days for families to take part in during lockdown.

The six-day challenge includes planting seeds, making elephants from leaves, bird spotting, creating a miniature plate garden, painting a paperweight and spot patterns in nature.

The Prince of Wales' six-day nature challenge for families begins on Monday


The Prince of Wales' six-day nature challenge for families begins on MondayCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Launching the Prince of Wales' Half Term Nature Challenge the future King said: "I know it has been an incredibly hard year for everyone.

"We’ve all had to think very carefully about how to keep ourselves and our families safe, which has meant we have had to stay very close to home.

"The six-day half term challenges and natures trails can be done in towns, cities, countryside and coastlines, the Prince of Wales said.

In his video address, he added: "I am sure you feel as frustrated as I do about that – not being able to get outside as much as you’d like to, especially if you live near a park or some local countryside.

"And now, of course, is a special time to be doing that.  "It’s at this time of year that all sorts of wonderful things start happening as Nature wakes up the world from its Winter sleep.

"Buds on trees will soon become leaves, bulbs will start pushing Spring flowers up through the soil and we’ll soon be hearing the wonderful sound of birdsong every morning.

"These things will happen near you, whether you live in a town, or a city or in the countryside."

All six challenges have been organised alongside the prince's patronages including Garden Organic, Elephant Family, The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, The Wildlife Trusts and The Prince's Foundation.

Speaking in his video address, the Prince of Wales said: "So, here’s a challenge for you.

"While you have a little time off from all your online learning, can you encourage your family to go out with you to take a really close look at the wonderful things Nature is now doing."

Families are encouraged to only take part on foot and adhere to government travel and social distancing rules.

The Prince of Wales said: "Some of the charities I am involved with have put together a series of challenges for you, to give you a proper break this half term week.

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew are among the future King's patronages and charities taking part


The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew are among the future King's patronages and charities taking partCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

"Take a look at the range of activities, and why not report back, by posting your pictures of what you have discovered, or of the things you have made?

"See for instance, how many birds you can spot; plant the seeds left from cooking vegetables and see how long it takes them to sprout; decorate pebbles, stones or shells.  But whatever you do, look closely.

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust have set a challenge for Wednesday


The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust have set a challenge for WednesdayCredit: PA:Press Association

"Notice the way Nature organises everything so precisely, using the sorts of shapes I’m sure you have drawn in school with a pair of compasses – circles, spirals, five pointed stars.

"I promise you, once you start looking at Nature and searching for these common shapes, you will see them everywhere.

"And that’s because they are so useful to Nature. The more you look at every leaf or seed or feather, you see that they have so much in common; they all work in the same way to keep life going.

"And don’t forget that we have those patterns in us too, which is why it’s so important to spend this time looking at how Nature works – it teaches us how we work too.  It makes us realise that if we help Nature thrive by making sure the soil is healthy, that there are trees, that there is birdsong, we thrive too.

"Have a great half term, but I really hope you will be able to get outside and take a look at how amazing Nature is, and what Nature does for us.

"Do enjoy these challenges, and I very much look forward to seeing how you get on."

On Monday, bored lockdown families can find an old  egg box or rescue a pot from recycling and fill it with soil or cotton wool and scatter with cress seeds of plant seeds from leftover fruit and vegetables.

James Campbell, Garden Organic Chief Executive, said: "It will be a wonderful opportunity for children of all ages to get closer to Nature and to try their hand at some simple organic growing.

"We hope it’ll be the start of a lifelong passion”

On Tuesday, with the Elephant Family charity, families urged to create an elephant using leaves as ears or even do a bark rubbing using wax crayon or pencil.

Ruth Ganesh, Creative Conservative and Trustee of Elephant Family, said: "We would love to see the elephants that you make from whatever you can find in your garden"

Then on Wednesday parents and children can take part by visiting wetlands such as ponds, streams, lakes, seaside saltmarshes and canals and spot as many birds as possible.

Dr Johnathan Reeves, Principle Research Officer (Health and Wellbeing), of The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, said: "The latest research shows that blue spaces involving water may be even better for people’s wellbeing than green spaces, so we’re pleased to be joining The Prince of Wales in encouraging families to get their wetland wellbeing fix this Half Term.”

Kew Gardens want bored Brits to create a miniature plate garden


Kew Gardens want bored Brits to create a miniature plate gardenCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Housebound youngsters can make a miniature plate garden from items in their garden or kitchen in conjunction with The Royal Botanic Gardens, at Kew, on Thursday.

Richard Barley, Director of Horticulture, Learning and Operations at the Royal Botanic Gardens, said: "We hope that through initiatives such as this, the next generation will be inspired not only to experience the joys of Nature, but to develop a relationship with plants through which they can truly understand their importance."

Parents and children can take part in day five of the challenge painting an animal-inspired paperweight from a pebble or stone.

Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: "Plenty of studies have proved the positive impact that time spent outdoors can have for young people.

"By experiencing Nature, people are far more likely to take better care of it too."

Prince of Wales' Half Term Nature Challenge finishes on Saturday with youngsters urged to 'Find Patterns in Nature'.

The Prince's Foundation is telling families to spend time outdoors exploring patterns in nature such as symmetry on leaves, seeds, seashells, plants and even buildings. 

Simon Sadinsky, Executive Director from The Prince's Foundation, said: "The work of The Prince’s Foundation is inspired by HRH The Prince of Wales’s philosophy of harmony: that by understanding the balance, the order and the relationships between ourselves and the natural world we can create a more sustainable future."

For more information on the nature challenges and how to take part visit Instagram @Clarencehouse.


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