Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Wildwood e-news March '12

Wildwood e-news March 2012

1) Easter events at Wildwood
2) Ken West Aviary now open!
3) Bushcraft Experience Day - 25th March
4) Letting us know a change of name or address - membership
5) Supporter of the month - Gordon engraving
6) Animal of the month - Raven
7) Schools & Groups at Wildwood - visits from just £2 per person
8) Items needes - can you help?



1) Easter events at Wildwood

Jan & Feb events at Wildwood


The Easter holidays are almost here! At Wildwood we have a fun-packed schedule of events throughout the holidays:

Mon 2nd Apr - Thurs 5th Apr - Easter Animal Crafts
Make hares, rabbits and chicks to take home in our fun Easter themed craft workshop.
Daily sessions: 11.30am - 1pm. & 2pm - 3.30pm. £2 per person (one adult free per family). Drop in anytime.

Thursday 5th Apr - Frog Moon Night Tour
See our animals under the moonlight on a guided tour to coincide with the full moon when Wildwood comes alive with the sounds of the woodland at night. A unique experience for any animal lover. 
7.30pm-10pm. £25 each including hot meal at 7.30pm. Min. age 10yrs. Must book.

Easter Weekend: 6th - 9th April - FREE Easter Hares Trail
Pick up a free Easter hare trail from the shop on arrival. Complete your trail as you make your way around the park and claim your free special prize with every completed trail.
Free event, no need to book.

Tuesday 10th Apr - Back to the Stone Age  - Skills & Crafts
An all-day event in two parts to discover life in the Stone Age. From 11am - 12.30pm: learn Stone Age skills in the woods, then from 2pm-3.30pm make beads, shell amulets and leather pouches to take home.
Min age 7yrs.  £3 per person (one adult free per family). Must book.

Wednesday 11th Apr - Discover Ice Age Art
Ice Age Art activity day in 2 parts: join Steve Kirk from 11am - 12.30pm for a walking art lesson around the park to sketch the animals and then from 2pm-3.30pm create your own Ice Age paintings and sculptures.
Min age 7yrs.  £3 per person (one adult free per family). Must book.

Thurs 12th & Friday 13th Apr - Dinosaurs!
What is a dinosaur? How big where they? What sounds did they make? Find out about the biggest animals that ever lived and make dinos to take home.
2pm - 3pm.  £2 per person (one adult free per family). Must book.

To book any event call 01227 712 111. Please note - entry or membership fees apply for all events (except Night Tours).


2) Ken West Aviary now open!

Jan & Feb events at Wildwood

Wildwood's newest attraction, the Ken West Aviary is now open! The new centre for coastal birds was officially opened by local MP Sir Roger Gale and Wildwood's founding chairman, Ken West, after whom the aviary is named.

The new aviary replaces Wildwood's old Sea Bird enclosure which was originally the brainchild of Ken but was badly damaged by last year's heavy snow. The new enclosure will hold rescued breeding waders and other rare seabirds.

At 33 metres long and 9 metres high, the huge new aviary is the largest enclosure of its kind in Kent and has been constructed to a very high standard by Wildwood's Ranger and Keeper teams to create a unique exhibit that will inspire and educate visitors for years to come. The aviary is currently home to night herons, little egrets and redshanks, with more birds planned for introduction in the coming months.

The centre has been named after Ken West in recognition of his continued support for the Wildwood Trust and his exceptional work to protect the wildlife of Kent. Be sure to visit the new aviary on your next visit (next to the fallow deer enclosure).

3) Bushcraft experience day - 25th March - spaces still available

Bushcraft experience at Wildwood

Spaces still available on our spring bushcraft experience day!


Join our natural heritage officer, Steve Kirk for a day of bushcraft and survival techniques at Wildwood. The day is your chance to get back to nature and learn basic bushcraft techniques with tuition and practical activities. To book call the office on 01227 712 111


Practical activities will include:

  • Early spring foraging.
  • Preparing and cooking a rabbit.*
  • Atlatl (spear thrower) demonstration and practice (space permitting).
  • Learn about animal tracking and field signs.
  • See the field signs of around 30 species including terrestrial mammals and some birds.
  • Observe Wildwood's captive animals, affording rare opportunities to see their field signs, e.g. bison, lynx, wolves, wild boar.



  • Why we track animals.
  • Different kinds of field signs, some from wild animals active around Wildwood, and others from Wildwood's captive animals.
  • Learn about where wild animals come and go.
  • How to use all your senses.
  • Learn how to use a tracking stick.
  • Learn how to tune in to your environment using all your senses.
  • How to recognise spring plants.
  • Tracking skills.
  • How to prepare a rabbit for the pot*


Remember to bring a digital camera (if possible) and a notebook.


The day runs from 10-4pm (with one hour for lunch, bring a packed lunch or purchase lunch in our cafe). Cost £35 per person. Min age 12yrs (12-16yrs must be accompanied by a participating adult). Please note this event is subject to weather conditions. *Preparing a rabbit is an optional activity.

To book please call the office on 01227 712 111


4) Membership records update - change of name/address

Jan & Feb events at Wildwood

Don't forget you can let us know about the following changes to your membership by emailing: pat@wildwoodtrust.org

  • Change of address
  • Correction / Change of name details (i.e. after getting married)
  • Lost cards

Please include:

  • Your name (as per our current records)
  • Postcode (as per our current records)
  • Membership number (if known)
  • Contact telephone number (in case of queries)

If you need to let us know of a change of address/name or a lost card and would are planning a visit over Easter please can you email us before the holidays so that we can amend your records ahead of time.


5) Supporter of the month - Gordon Engraving

Gordon engraving

We would like to say a big thank you this month to Gordon Engraving in Canterbury who supplied the wonderful plaque for our new aviary. Their handywork is pictured above with some of our ranger team who built the aviary at the official opening. We wanted to give the new enclosure a smart sign to show that it is dedicated to our founding chairman Ken West, and the team at Gordon Engraving worked wonders for us – we are delighted with the results!

For more information on Gordon Engraving, visit their website: www.gordonengraving.co.uk


6) Animal of the month - Raven

Raven (Corvus corax)

Life of a Raven

Ravens are omnivores, feeding mainly on small mammals and carrion but also eggs, insects, fruit, nuts and seeds. Ravens belong to the crow family (Corvidae), who are renowned for their intelligence. At first glance a raven may look like a crow but if you see the two side by side, ravens are easily recognised as they are so much larger. Their black feathers are iridescent so they look colourful in sunlight.

The raven is the largest of this family in Britain and, at two feet in length, is the largest British perching bird. Ravens are found across the northern hemisphere and can survive in a range of habitats from the Arctic to the deserts of north Africa and the islands of the Pacific. Ravens are often associated with wolves, following them to scavenge from carcasses.

Ravens make a huge variety of sounds, including alarm calls, chase calls, and flight calls. Non-vocal sounds include wing whistles and bill snapping.  If a member of a pair is lost, its mate reproduces the calls of its lost partner to encourage its return. Ravens are known to steal and hide shiny objects such as pebbles, pieces of metal, and golf balls. One theory is that they hoard shiny objects in order to impress other ravens. Other research indicates that juveniles are deeply curious about all new things, and that ravens are attracted to bright, round objects based on their similarity to bird eggs.

Raven families

Young ravens begin to court at a very early age, but may not bond for another two or three years before mating and raising young at around four or five years old.  Aerial acrobatics and demonstrations of intelligence and ability to provide food are key behaviours of courting. Once paired, ravens tend to nest together for life, usually in the same location. Breeding pairs must have a territory of their own before they begin nest-building and aggressively defend a territory and its food resources. The nest is a deep bowl made of large sticks and twigs, bound together with an inner layer of roots, mud, and bark and lined with a softer material, such as deer fur. The nest is usually placed in a large tree or on a cliff ledge. Females lay between three to seven pale bluish-green, brown-blotched eggs. Incubation is about 18 to 21 days, by the female only. Young fledge at 35 to 42 days, and are fed by both parents. They stay with their parents for another six months after fledging. In most places where ravens live, including Britain, egg laying begins in late February.

Ravens At Wildwood

We have two female ravens on display at Wildwood. The difference between male and female ravens is practically impossible to distinguish, as their plumage is identical and once fully grown they are the same size. Ravens are famously intelligent and one of our birds, Morwena, has learnt to copy the mating calls of several of the wild birds around the park, such as woodpeckers and great tits. She loves attention and often gets jealous if people are looking at other animals, rather than her, so she will make lots of noises to get noticed.


For thousands of years the raven has been regarded as a creature of the supernatural, sometimes worshipped as a protector, sometimes feared as an agent of death. In Britain, the raven is traditionally a bird of ill-omen and death and is only rarely seen as a bringer of good fortune. This is perhaps not surprising, due to the fact that ravens are carrion-eaters and in olden times would commonly have been seen around battlefields and gallows.

The Celts had a very high regard for ravens, mainly as creatures of battle. The war goddess Badb Catha was known as the raven of battle, while many creatures such as the Black Annis assumed the form of a huge raven when attacking lone travellers. In the Mabigonion, Owein's band of warriors are referred to as his fighting ravens. The Mabigonion also refers to the legend of Bran, the greatest of the Celtic kings. The head of Bran, whose name means Raven, is said to have been buried on Tower Hill to protect London from invasion. It is from such a background that the story of the ravens of the tower of London may have arisen. It is said that should the ravens ever leave the Tower, the Tower will collapse and a terrible disaster will befall England.  To this day, seven ravens live at the Tower of London, six plus one spare, just in case!

Did you know? Ravens…

·         are incredibly acrobatic and males can even fly upside down.

·         are highly intelligent and good problem solvers.

·         may look jet black all over but in young ones the inside of their beak is scarlet.

·         are good mimics and can copy a human voice.

7) Schools & Groups at Wildwood

School trips at Wildwood

Want an engaging school or group trip? Give your students the opportunity to get out into the woods to experience first-hand the plants and animals to be found in their local environment. Wildwood's wide array of trees, plants and animals are here for you to study and our experienced tutors will ensure you get the most from your day.


From KS1 to A-level and postgraduate, we have options in all ranges; from variety of life, to adaptation, animal homes and habitats, food chains, forensic science and practical woodland ecology . Our qualified, experienced tutors and fantastic educational resources make these curriculum-linked programmes come alive.


Group rates are available for schools, colleges and organised groups. Teachers and group organisers are always welcome to visit the park in advance for a FREE pre-visit inspection, either independently or to meet the education team and discuss plans for their day.


Book your school / group trip now for these great benefits:

  • Prices start from as little as £2 per person
  • Curriculum based activities for all ages and abilities
  • Group activities from only £15
  • Free teacher pre-visit inspections
  • Free teacher places when you book any educational activity
  • £20 off coach hire with Kent Top Travel
  • Wildwood can design a day or activity especially for your school


To book an educational visit or for more details visit www.wildwoodtrust.org or e-mail education@wildwoodtrust.org



8) Urgent appeal - can you help?

As a conservation charity we love to recycle and can make use of lots of things that might otherwise go into landfill. We urgently need the following items for use around the park, if you can help please contact the office on 01227 712 111.

  • Large plastic storage boxes with lids - For use in our new conservation building.
  • Old sheepskin slippers or boots - for use by our educational workshops (sheepskin prefferred, faux fur OK).
  • Flatscreen TFT computer monitors - for use in the Wildwood office.
  • Glass fishtanks / vivariums (min 2ft long, lids not required) - for use in our conservation centre.

If you can help with any of the above items please contact the office on 01227 712 111. Anything you can help with will be gratefully received.

Many thanks,

Fiona Paterson

Wildwood Trust

Herne Common,

Herne Bay,



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