mini gardeners

inspiring gardening projects for children


World’s Biggest Wildlife Survey

birdwatching surveyIf you’re in the UK this weekend you’ll be able to take part in the world’s biggest wildlife survey.  

All you have to do is watch the birds in your garden or local park for one hour over the weekend of 26 – 27 January 2013 and send the results to the RSPB.

Over half a million people are expected to take part in this 34th Big Garden Birdwatch and the RSPB will use the information to continue to monitor bird populations in the UK.

Check out their website for full instructions and some interesting statistics from earlier surveys.

For example, between 1979 and 2012, the following bird populations have declined in the UK:

  • starlings (by an amazing 80%)
  • house sparrows (by 67%)
  • robins (by 32%)

And the following bird populations have increased over the same period:

  • blue tits (by 20%)
  • woodpigeons (by a whopping 800% !!)

As well as providing some useful data, it’s a good excuse to swot up on your bird identification skills (I’m off to start revising right now).  Schools are also invited to take part between 21 January and 1 February 2013, and the RSPB website has lots of downloadable resources to help.   Happy birdwatching!


Living Stones

Lithops, commonly known as "living stones"

Looking for a weird and wonderful houseplant that will intrigue children (and adults too)? Then look no further, your search is over.

These strange looking stones are, in fact, leaves of a plant called Lithops, commonly referred to as “living stones”.

In their native South Africa, these plants live in places where it doesn’t rain for months. So their fleshy leaves store water to keep the plant alive during the dry periods.  And it’s suspected that the stone-like appearance is a survival mechanism to avoid being eaten by thirsty, hungry animals.

The good news is that they thrive on a fair amount of neglect, making them perfect houseplants for children.

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