Summer review 2016

It has been an exceptional year for education at the Barnet Environment Centre. We have survived deluge after deluge, the disruption and noise from the construction of our new centre, floods on the reserve and more mud than I would ever care to see again! We’ve squelched and slipped our way around the nature reserve, made raincoats from black bin bags, made shoe protectors from plastic bags, come up with new ways to investigate pond creatures in the rain and cleaned more floors and chairs than ever before. Despite the rain and the mud, the noise and the dust, all the children, and teachers, that visited us had a wonderful time.
The majority of the schools that visited us either walked or came by public transport making our education programme a truly green experience. Well done to all the schools that enabled this to happen. It is a great experience for young children to travel on public transport.
With all the rain you might wonder if we were able to see any wildlife at all. However, we have had many wonderful wildlife experiences. One day we were buzzed by a kestrel who swooped over our heads while the children were standing in the middle of the meadow. The kestrel then proceeded to hover less than 100 metres from us. For many children this was their first encounter with a bird of prey and they were delighted. Several groups of children were lucky enough to see nesting field voles and common shrews under our habitat plates in the meadow. We saw baby birds galore. We heard blackbirds, thrushes, blue tits, finches, woodpeckers and jackdaws. We saw swooping swift families feeding on insects high in the air. As for the insects! We found bright red cardinal beetles, vibrant green bush crickets, an acorn weevil that looked like an alien, dragonfly nymphs that were 7cm long, and shining hawker dragonflies and red and blue damselflies. In the ponds we have found delicate newtpoles, chunky toadpoles, adult newts with bright orange spotty tummies and tiny toadlets. It would be impossible to list everything that the children have seen this year.
We are now taking bookings for the autumn term. This autumn we are offering all of our usual courses, plus an autumn art experience and a session exploring poetry and nature. So, if you are inspired to visit, just send an email to the Education Manager, Caroline Gellor, at
Wellie Appeal
If anybody has any old child’s wellington boots please consider donating them to us. Our visiting children often come without wellies. We are particularly in need of boots to fit young children aged 4-7, but anything to fit age 4 to Age 11 would be most welcome. If you have a pair to donate, please email the Education Manager on and put ‘wellie offer’ in the subject bar.

A very successful year of school visits

identifying wildlife 400x265

School visits in the academic year 2014-2015 were suspended during the winter months and resumed in the spring when Caroline Gellor joined us in March 2015 as the Environmental Education Manager. Since then we have had 34 visits by schools and youth groups with 957 children attending.
In the academic year 2013 to 2014 we had 54 individual school visits with 1378 children attending.  Two of the visits were “self-led” by the school teachers and 52 “centre-led” with the help of our environment specialist. 
The enthusiasm of the children and appreciation by the teachers is very rewarding!    
See comments on a selection of the school visits since Caroline joined us.