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By Kayleigh Brookes on October 13, 2015
Hello, and welcome to the first issue of our new Osprey Education Newsletter. We hope to publish four issues per year to keep all our schools and colleges up to date with Osprey news both in the UK and in all countries on the Flyways. So here we go…….
Well, what a season we’ve had here at the Rutland Osprey Project! Eight pairs of Ospreys attempted to breed in the area, with seven of them producing a record count of fifteen fledged young – including the 100th chick to fledge in Rutland since the first one in 2001!
As if that wasn’t enough cause for celebration, look at this : just short of 30,000 people visited the Manton Bay Ospreys at the Lyndon Reserve during the season March – September! And Maya and 33(11) did not disappoint, bringing up three healthy chicks with great care and devotion, much to the delight of all those visitors.
Now, as all the Ospreys make their way down to the wintering grounds in West Africa (we know one has already arrived!), things are quieter, and we can take stock and make plans for the winter.
Here in the Project’s Education Department we have also had a brilliant season. Between March and July 2015 we took the Osprey Roadshow out to schools on a regular basis, and we hosted an amazing number of schools at the Lyndon Reserve. In total we engaged with 30 schools and over 2,200 students aged between five and sixteen. We believe strongly that this is the way forward in ensuring that the next generation cares for the Ospreys and all other wildlife as passionately as we do!
Another piece of brilliant news is that the Education Team will for the first time be able to continue its work throughout the winter, thanks to funding by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. So although the Ospreys may be 3,000 miles away in The Gambia and Senegal, we will still be able to go into schools and share with teachers and students the excitement and thrill of studying these magnificent birds. And remember – all visits to schools within a 30 mile radius of Rutland Water are free of charge! During September we have already been to Whissendine School to join in their celebrations following the award of Blue Peter badges to every member of their highly successful after-school Osprey Club, and we were able to take with us our great friend from The Gambia Jungkung Jadama (JJ), who has been over here visiting all members of the Project and sharing our work. JJ also came with us to Edith Weston School, where he spoke to all the children and showed them pictures of his homeland.
In 2016 the Rutland Osprey project will be 20 years old. We need to celebrate! We are therefore inviting our partner schools from all over the world to take part in an Osprey Festival.
Twenty Years of Ospreys Science Meets The Arts, will invite children of all ages to produce work in a variety of Arts and Science categories. There are separate Primary and Secondary school categories and the best work produced will be displayed in a Rutland school and at the Lyndon Nature Reserve Centre. Participants will be invited to either attend our day-long celebration of the Rutland Ospreys or link up via skype or a virtual tour of the festival.
You can find out how your school can take part in our celebration by clicking here!
Schools can start preparing for the festival as soon as they wish, but if you wish to send your best entries for the Osprey Festival these must be with us by May 23rd 2016.
School resources and visits
We have several new educational resources and initiatives for our autumn and winter season. What follows is just a summary – please get in touch with us if you wish to know more – click here.
Be an Osprey Expert
A new Osprey activity book, aimed at children aged 6 – 11, containing information, puzzles, games and questions about every aspect of Osprey life. Copies usually sell for £5 each, but our local schools can obtain them for the bargain price of just £2. This book joins our earlier book ‘Ozzie’s Migration’ – the story in words and pictures of one young Osprey’s first migration from Rutland to the Gambia.
A PowerPoint presentation showing how a Rutland Osprey spends the winter in West Africa, focussing on climate, local customs and the work being done in The Gambia to foster awareness of wildlife in general and wintering Ospreys in particular, featuring our friend JJ. Our presenters will be showing ‘Ozzie’s Christmas’ any time during December. Book early to avoid disappointment!
New online Resources
On our website there are already over 40 worksheets prepared by our education team for use in primary and secondary schools. These are cross-curricular in nature, and cover all aspects of the Ospreys and their world. More are in preparation, and there will soon be over 70 different topics to explore. Free to download and print as you wish.
For more information click here.
New Education Team School visits programme
The Education team can visit your school to give assemblies talks or workshops. Schools may also wish to visit the Lyndon Reserve to see the ospreys and do other osprey related activities (available from April to July). More details about visits can be found on the website – then contact the team!
For more information click here.
We are really excited by this new initiative! We are inviting schools to appoint ‘Osprey Ambassadors’ in their school. These students will be the Osprey Project’s representatives within the school, and will keep everyone informed and updated via regular assembly or classroom slots. We will of course undertake the training of the ‘ambassadors’ with the permission of the school, and we will provide them with resources to carry out their roles effectively. The ambassadors will assist us when we visit the school, and take part in the presentation. They will also help with the planning of visits to see the Ospreys in the spring and summer. They will meet ambassadors from other schools at meetings, and there may be the opportunity for them, together with their parents and teachers, to take part in an Osprey Cruise on ‘The Rutland Belle.’ A letter outlining the Ambassador Scheme in more detail will be e-mailed to all schools on our mailing list very soon, but please do get in touch beforehand if you would like to know more!
For more information click here.
We find that communication with schools is much more reliable if we have a named contact in each school. So do please let us know your e-mail address and then we can be sure you will receive our regular newsletters and occasional correspondence.
If you would like to make a booking for us to visit your school, or have a chat about anything raised in this newsletter, please contact
Ken Davies firstname.lastname@example.org
Jackie Murray email@example.com
We hope to hear from you soon
Rutland Ospreys Education Team
Posted in Schools Blog
By Kayleigh Brookes on October 12, 2015
The Ospreys may have gone, but work at the Osprey Project does not stop during the winter. Today was the first winter work party at Lyndon! Every Monday throughout the winter months, the Osprey volunteers get together, under the guidance of Project Officer, Paul Stammers, to carry out numerous practical tasks around Lyndon. This vital habitat management work is undertaken in order to keep the reserve at its best and maintain its wildlife interest, all through the winter and into next spring. Homemade soup is provided by Paul, and cakes are made specially by Jan Warren. Here is a photo of the Lyndon Centre all set out for lunch today.
We were blessed with a beautiful morning for our first winter work party of 2015. We tackled a very important task, which was also a rather wet and muddy one! What we were doing was clearing out the vegetation from the scrape and channels in front of Waderscrape hide. The reeds (Great Reedmace, Typha latifolia) grow very tall and spread very fast, and, if not controlled, can choke the channels and take over the main scrape. If left to their own devices, the reeds would completely take over the entire area of water, eventually drying it out. This is the time of year to reduce its abundance, which means that today we donned our wellies, waders and waterproofs and splashed straight in, cutting back and pulling out the reeds to clear more space in the water.
At times, the reeds were taller than us!
Everybody mucked in and did an absolutely fantastic job – we almost got the whole area cleared out in one morning!
We all had great fun, even if we did end up rather dirty and wet at the end of the day! As if to prove the value of the work we’d carried out, not long after we had finished, a Water Vole and a Water Rail were spotted! Thank you very much to everyone who came along today, to Sarah and Paul for the photographs, and to Paul for the delicious soup!
By Kayleigh Brookes on October 9, 2015
Almost a month ago, our satellite-tagged Osprey, 30(05), arrived at her wintering site in West Africa. She made the journey in record time this autumn, arriving in Senegal on 10th September, just 11 days after leaving Rutland Water! Click here for more details of her journey.
Ospreys always return to the same site every winter, and have their own wintering territory. We know from previous years that 30 over-winters on the Senegalese coast, near Diourmel, mid-way between Dakar and St Louis. Since arriving there this year, she has spent most of her time in the same spot, only venturing out to sea to fish. She doesn’t need to travel far – her longest fishing foray was one mile!
Ospreys have a fairly easy life during the winter months, having no responsibilities, just the need to eat once a day. 30 has five more months of relaxation to enjoy before she returns to Rutland next spring. During that time, it is unlikely she will move much more than she already has!