Accolade awarded for outdoor adventures at Whisby Nature Park

Friday 30th January 2015

Whisby Wildlife Watch Group - Sheri Lake

Whisby Wildlife Watch Group announced as winners of The Wildlife Trusts’ Watch Group of the Year

Outstanding efforts to discover wildlife have reaped rewards for Whisby Wildlife Watch Group, who were announced today as ‘Watch Group of the Year 2014’ by The Wildlife Trusts. The group, based at Whisby Nature Park just outside Lincoln, will receive a special trophy and £50 gardening vouchers.

This enthusiastic group of children impressed the judges with the variety and inventiveness of their activities with children exploring the strange world of slithering, hopping and crawling amphibians and reptiles, hosting insect athletics and discovering which minibeasts are the fastest, strongest, and jump the highest! The judges also loved the group’s video diary in which the children filmed and reported on their monthly activities. Watch the video here.

During 2014, Whisby Wildlife Watch Group discovered water scorpions, dragonfly nymphs and water stick insects lurking in Thorpe Lake (more info about these bugs below). The children also found time for a summer picnic, an autumn camp-out and a winter party! The 24 children, aged between five and 11 years old, meet once a month to learn about wildlife through the seasons and the species that live in our ponds, woodlands and grasslands.

Nick Baker, The Wildlife Trusts’ Vice President (who uses @bugboybaker on twitter) was impressed by Whisby’s insect athletics activities. He said:

“Bugs can be misunderstood and get a bad rap but they’re truly astonishing creatures and it’s great to know Whisby’s children are discovering their little known but amazing talents!

“Every child in these Wildlife Watch groups has enjoyed a fantastic mix of creative, practical and educational activities focused around the natural world. Wildlife Watch is helping children to growing up with a connection to nature that all children should have. I encourage all parents to support their children in getting involved, to help realise the joy and wonder wildlife can bring to young minds and lives.”

Sheri Lake, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Education Officer and Whisby Watch group leader, was thrilled to hear her group beat tough competition from other groups all around the UK. Sheri said:

“We are so proud of our fantastic Wildlife Watch Group. They have put in a lot of hard work over the last year, and achieved so much! From hugging trees and orienteering to pond-dipping and camping beneath the stars, their enthusiasm has never dwindled! They are a fantastic bunch of children who are always keen to learn new things and it’s so nice that their enthusiasm has been recognised.”


Members explain what they enjoy about being part of the award-winning group:

Emily (10), said: “I love Whisby Watch because it’s very fun and we get to go outside a lot. I like the independence we are given and all of the activities are great, whether you are older or younger. I think it’s absolutely incredible that we have won the Watch Group of the Year.”

Tomas (8), said: “I am very proud that we have won Watch Group of the Year. My favourite activity is coppicing the willow in winter but I also love it when I get to catch bugs.”


Alford Wildlife Watch Group were Highly Commended. They meet once a month, usually on the last Sunday of the month, at the Manor House in Alford or at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s Rigsby Wood nature reserve. The meetings include a wide range for activities such as making plaster casts of animal prints, designing mud monsters and building insect homes.


Wildlife Watch Group of the Year 2014

First place

  • Whisby Wildlife Watch Group, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Second place

  • Newcastleton Wildlife Watch Group, Scottish Wildlife Trust

Best New Wildlife Watch Group Winner

  • Cambourne Wildlife Watch Group , The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire

Highly Commended

  • Alderney Watch Group, Alderney Wildlife Trust
  • Sark Watch Group, Alderney Wildlife Trust
  • Alford Watch Group, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
  • Rushcliffe Watch Group, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
  • Lytham Watch Group, Lancashire Wildlife Trust
  • Watch Out Wednesdays (WoW!), Worcestershire Wildlife Trust

Get involved: Find a Wildlife Watch Group near you!


Whisby Wildlife Group’s minibeasts

The pond skater is one of the most common bugs in the UK. Like most bugs, they can fly and that’s how they find a pond. Their front legs are used for gripping their prey. Water scorpions aren’t very good swimmers and would drown if they couldn’t get back up to the surface to breathe through their long breathing tube (which looks like a stinger, but isn’t!). It usually hides near the surface or on the bank. The water stick insect is not very common, but it is VERY cunning! It hides amongst stems of reeds and rushes so it is very difficult to see. It creeps about looking for prey. It has a long breathing tube too. Its front legs snap shut on its victims just like a pocket-knife!

Tagged with: Events & Shows, Outdoor learning, Wildlife Watch, Whisby Nature Park