Owls, bats and hedgehogs are among the many creatures that RSPB Scotland is encouraging kids to keep an eye out for this weekend, as they take the first step on their own wild adventure by joining in the charity’s Big Wild Sleepout.
For the fifth year running, thousands of children and their families across Scotland, and the rest of the UK, will be pitching up their tents, rolling out their sleeping bags, and gathering round the campfire as they get closer to nature by spending a night out under the stars.
Warm, dry weather throughout much of June and July has led to an eruption in sightings of nocturnal wildlife including moths, mini-beasts, bats, badgers, owls, and hedgehogs, so there is a good chance campers will spot some interesting animals during their Sleepout.
Paul Birmingham, Big Wild Sleepout co-ordinator, said: “Whether you’re a child or just a big kid at heart, a night out under the stars is always exciting. And night time provides some of the most exciting wildlife to explore, from hedgehogs and badgers snuffling around the lawn to bats and owls flying over head – gardens transform into another world after dark.
“Whether you’re a seasoned camper, occasional glamper or just fancy an evening exploring before returning to home comforts, there’s no better time to get together and take a closer look at the nocturnal nature in your outside space. You can take part anywhere – big, small, urban or rural – it’s free and we have loads of activities, hints and tips to help families make the most of their adventure. By taking part you’ll also be taking your first step on your own Wild Challenge, the RSPB’s new, free, year round nature adventure for families.”
The Wild Challenge is the RSPB’s new online award scheme encouraging children and their families to go out and get closer to the natural world. By completing activities ranging from mini-beast safaris to creating a compost heap and planting for wildlife, families can log their achievements on the RSPB Wild Challenge website and collect their rewards.
Paul Birmingham said: “With the amount of time children and their families are spending outside in nature declining, experiences like the Big Wild Sleepout provide a perfect opportunity to get out and discover the wildlife that surrounds us all. The chance to take a step closer to the wonders of nature should be a part of every child’s life and the RSPB Scotland Big Wild Sleepout is here to help every family start their own wild adventure.”
RSPB Scotland is organising two Sleepout events for those who want a wilder time in inspiring locations. One is on Orkney, with rock-pooling, marshmallow toasting, and moth ID on offer, while the other is at Loch Leven and promises a night of wildlife walks, bushcraft activities, campfires and star-gazing.
Rohan – designer and supplier of outdoor clothing and footwear – is once more supporting the RSPB Big Wild Sleepout, which is tipped to be the biggest event yet with over 11,000 families expected to spend a night in the wild.
Scott Longstaff, Managing Director of Rohan, said: “The great outdoors is full of amazing creatures and wild places that are waiting to be discovered, and the RSPB’s Big Wild Sleepout is the perfect opportunity to get out and start your own adventure. Whether you’re camping out in your back garden, or planning a trip further afield, Rohan is here to make sure you’re kitted out ready for your night out in the wild.”