Inspired by Nature is a themed Croak to entertain you with some of our favourite artwork based on nature and the outdoors. We hope it will stimulate you to get creative and produce something yourself. If you do and would like to share them with us, please post them on our Facebook page, Twitter account, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This months feature has been written by Rebecca Neal our Conservation Youth Worker on the Peterborough Green Pathways project.
It all started with a discussion with a friend of mine who has a two year old son, on the lack of books for children about native wildlife. There are any number of stories about crocodiles and elephants and tigers and lots on farm animals but very few to actually inspire children about our own wildlife. I was reminded how much I loved Captain Beaky as a child and was amazed that my friend had not heard the song (we remedied this quite quickly). What we decided was that with my enthusiasm for creative writing, I should write one myself. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea, and mentioning it to Froglife staff, who are always receptive to new ways to engage people, the idea blossomed. We thought that if we made it a story with a message, we could “publish” it in a pamphlet that could be handed out at events or read on school sessions. We are lucky within the Froglife team to have an amazing illustrator who was keen to put pictures to my words and so I got excited and patted myself on the back for thinking of such a cool idea and then got on with writing my end of year report. February came around and my colleague said “eer, how are you getting on with your children’s story?” “I, um, yes, um… the creative process is very hard you know. I would be happy for someone else to try it. Um, I had not forgotten at all. No.”
So out of embarrassment, I got on with it.
I managed 11 stanzas which filled our self-imposed criteria of: rhyming, having an alternative central character who goes on a journey, including particular native species linked to the Peterborough Wildlife Festival Froglife are involved in, and with potential links to the science curriculum for primary schools and a conservation message. Now we are at the stage where we are going to test the story on some actual mini-critics. Over the next few weeks, the Green Pathways team will be taking the story to primary schools in Peterborough and reading it to some children. Depending on their reaction, we might scrap the whole idea as a bad job or proceed to “publication”.
Here is all I dare share with you until it has been judged and refined.
A newt went down to the pond one night to dance the night away,
His tail was striped, his crest was spiked, gold toe-rings bright as day.
He’d been asleep all winter long, curled underground he lay,
But now the warmth had woken him he wanted friends to play.
His local pond was not that far but didn’t smell quite right,
The dragonfly snoozing in the reeds said by day it was a sight.
They chatted, and the insect said he’d take him for a flight,
They made a thing from rubbish; a four-winged kite.
Froglife would love to hear your favourite children’s stories containing native wildlife and I suppose you can comment on the first part of the story above, but only if you’re nice! If you’re feeling creative you could even share a story you have written. Leave a comment on our facebook page or tweet us @froglifers