This summer, why don’t you think about making your garden a better place for wildlife? You can be a biodiversity action hero by making outdoor spaces welcoming for birds, mammals, insects and amphibians. The RSPB has heaps of good advice on Making a Home for Wildlife on their website. Even if you only have a window box, you could grow the kind of flowers that will attract pollinating insects or hang up a bird feeder. If you have more space you could build a hedgehog cafe, create a sparrow street or make an abode for a frog or toad! But our favourite idea is to build a bug hotel.
This one is more of a palace than a hotel and it could provide a home for anything from hedgehogs to toads, solitary bees to bumblebees, and ladybirds to woodlice. But you can make one in any size, depending on the materials and space you have to hand. Even a tiny bug house will provide vital shelter for a variety of creatures. You can recycle all sorts of things such as old wooden pallets, off-cuts of wood, old bricks, tiles and flowerpots and use lots of natural materials like straw, bamboo canes, woodchips and dried leaves. So your bug hotel should be free and very simple to make and you can have a lot of fun thinking about how to set up the different “rooms”. There are detailed instructions on the RSPB website, but you could make something even simpler out of a bundle of hollow canes in an open container, which you could hang from a fence or tree. Or place an old flowerpot on its side in a quiet corner and fill it with small stones, pine cones and dried leaves.
Once you’ve built your bug hotel, don’t forget to monitor it occasionally to find out what has taken up residence. You could be surprised at just how busy it becomes! Have fun, be creative and know that you are doing something really important to give nature a helping hand.
Nature Reading Ideas
For the little ones we have Mad About Minibeasts! packed with tactile and audio guides to creepy crawlies, fun insect facts, music and song, and craft ideas too.
And for 11-14 years why not dip into Forest School: Nature Detectives for more great ideas about exploring the wildlife around us.