Just a mile or so up the south shore of Rutland Water lies the village of Edith Weston, and at its heart is one of our very best Osprey schools. In fact we call it ‘Osprey School No. 1’, because it has always been our ‘go to’ school when we want to try something new! The first ever Skype links with our friends in Gambia were made here, the Ozzie stories were all read aloud here before going into print, and the first Osprey Ambassadors came from here. All the children who featured in ‘Be an Osprey Expert’ were pupils at Edith Weston at the time. We believe – and will continue to do so until someone proves us wrong – that Edith Weston is the only school in England, maybe the UK, maybe even the World ( well maybe not the World!), where the children can simply walk out of school in spring and summer and be watching Ospreys within a matter of minutes! No cars needed, no buses, no cycles even – just five minutes walk to the shore. And that is pretty special, don’t you think?
Today, on the last school day of WOW, we arrive bright and early as the children are arriving too. They know us all by name, and shout out their greetings. There are always new children too, who we haven’t met before, and they come from all over the UK and beyond – we will need to bring them up to speed too. And a surprise for us today! As we are setting up in the hall, mothers, dads, and tiny babies pass through on their way to a ‘Mums, Dads and Babies’ swimming event in the indoor pool next door! And guess what? One of the mums is none other than Louise Mackrill and son Harry (of Tim Mackrill fame), and another is our Anglian Water education colleague Joelle with baby Ivy! Amazing Osprey people everywhere!
We launch into our presentation, with pictures and video clips, latest news from the Bay and from Mauretania (where tracking data tells us 30(05) was – but now she’s in in Western Sahara!), with frequent stops to answer questions, tell stories, shout WOW! every few minutes, and generally celebrate the return of the famous Manton Bay pair! Along the way we make sure everyone understands the processes of breeding, ringing, tracking, migration and everything else the team works on during the season. And of course we have to end with the rousing Osprey Song which some of them have heard so often they know it off by heart!
There’s just time to meet our new Osprey Ambassadors for 2018, equip them with their instructions for Sunday’s ‘Ambassadors Warm-Up’ meeting, and finally we’re all ospreyed out and leave for a well-earned coffee just down the road at the Lyndon Reserve. The sun is shining, Maya and 33 are looking brilliant, visitors are piling through to see them. During the week we have met a total of 845 children and their teachers in their fantastic schools. We are, as always, so grateful to them for allowing us to come in and tell everyone the enthralling stories of the fabulous Rutland Ospreys. And we’ll carry on doing just that for the rest of the season!