Real Family Holidays- Easter 2017

Over Easter weekend we were joined by families from all over the country looking for a holiday that would not only keep the children occupied but also get them in touch with nature. Over the weekend we had a range of activities every day, going from rock pooling and wildlife walks, to team challenges and orienteering.  While all the activities were very successful, there were 3 that really stood out to me as a FSC staff member.

The first of these was the Wildlife boat trip. While we do many boat trips for groups such as universities, it is not very often that we are able to simply focus on the wildlife that we are seeing for the whole trip. While the weather was not perfect, we managed to just about avoid rain and see lots of wildlife such as Eiders, Guillemots, Seals and Cormorants to name but a few. The highlight of the trip was an appearance by the local Common Dolphin, named Colin by FSC staff, who can often be seen near the buoys opposite the centre. Colin put on a great show for us by swimming close and bow riding in the wake of the boat.

The second highlight for me was our Beach art session. Loads of families battled some dubious weather to get to Kames bay where this session took place. Fortunately the sun did make an appearance and we were able to make the most of the time to make some great beach art. Each family used only what they could find on the beach to make something beautiful and hopefully meaningful. While doing so we learnt about the important status of Kames bay as a site of special scientific interest, as well the impact humans have on environments such as beaches, noticing how much of what is found there was rubbish left by humans.

The final of my favourite activities of the week was habitat creation. This was quite a quiet activity with a couple families deciding to join us. We first looked at what people could be doing at home to create different habitats in their gardens, such as creating wildflower patches for pollinators and feeding garden birds at home. We then went on to building our own micro-habitats that the families could take home to encourage wildlife in their gardens. The options were to build and decorate insect hotels, bird boxes or bat boxes and in the end all 3 were built by our families.

Real family holidays was great fun for not only the families but also all the staff that got to help with activities. If you are interested in joining us in the summer for a holiday have a look below at the link: http://www.real-family-holidays.org/locations/scottish-islands.aspx

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