Take a ‘Wordsmith Wander’!

As we sit patiently waiting for the Osprey chicks to fledge, we’re taking bets again on the exact date they’ll make their first flapping lunge into the unknown… and which of our brave brood will go first? 055 has been the strongest contender, our oldest male, frequently disappearing from view as he helicopters way above the nest! The chicks are 7 weeks old now so it really won’t be long until they’re taking to the skies and wandering around the water’s edge with their parents..

Whilst all of our attention has been glued to our webcams, we are running an exciting new engagement activity to reconnect kids with their natural world, and to encourage adults to do the same too! You might remember my obsession with Robert McFarlane and his compendium of words to describe nature, called landmarks. I’ve been thinking of a way to bring it to life, and short of making a musical, I’ve arrived at a ‘reserve challenge’, encouraging every visitor to the reserve to use their senses and imagination to come up with a new word to describe nature.

These can be words to describe how things move e.g. susurrate (the way leaves make a rustling sound) , the signs of animals e.g. smeuse the gap in the base of a hedge made by the regular passage of a small animal, the smells of nature e.g. petrichor (a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather). The reserve at Lyndon is full of little curiosities to explore and ponder, and standing still, listening, smelling, touching and watching can reveal all sorts of secrets you might not have noticed before!

What word could describe how a Greylag eats? ‘Snazzling’? ‘tuttering’? (these were suggestions by some adults in the centre today!!)

Above all, you can make this activity as silly or poetic as you like, we particularly welcome local words for commonplace nature such as ‘peggles’ and ‘plum pudding’! (An essex-born volunteer introduced me to these!) Come down to the site and give us your best nature word for the day, and our favourites will make it on to the word board in craft corner!

Ask us on the desk at Lyndon for more info/guidance/ideas!