The Martin Mere column - amazing wetland wildlife

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WHEN Sir Peter Scott built WWT Martin Mere over 40 years ago, he intended it to be a place where people would enjoy themselves whilst learning about the amazing wetland wildlife which lives here.

Today, ten thousand school children from Lancashire, Merseyside and even further afield visit us at all times of the year to do precisely that and many are doing that for free as part of a free school visits offer for schools which have over 20% free school meals (Pupil Premium).

Educating school children is central to everything we do at Martin Mere. We keep our guided learning sessions fresh by introducing new ways for children to learn. We use stories, games and activities to bring the science alive for the children. Our new Discovery Hide has wi-fi for the general birdwatching public to use but also has a big touch-screen so that visitors of all ages can find out about the wild whooper swans right outside the hide windows. One of our most popular school sessions is all about the swans and their incredible journey to Iceland and back.

All our guided learning sessions follow a tried and tested pattern which encourages children to learn by developing an enquiring mind. As the weather warms up and the swans leave us in March, we will be starting our busy time with many groups doing pond dipping, minibeast hunting, learning about wetland mammals, plants, and more.

With new places to discover, we have recently opened our Wild Walk to school groups. This area allows children to explore off the tarmac paths but still to be safe on boardwalks and grassy paths as they discover not only the birds but also the sounds, the smells and the feel of wild wetland habitats.

To find out more about our education sessions and whether your school qualifies for a free school visit to Martin Mere, give our team a call on 01704 891244.

In other news at the centre, there is just 2 weeks left before our GIANT Lego brick animals leave us on 31 January to travel over to Castle Espie in Ireland. Come and see them before it’s too late.

WWT Martin Mere is open every day from 9.30am to 4.30pm and parking is free of charge. Situated off the A59, it is signposted from the M61, M58 and M6. The Centre is also accessible via the Southport to Manchester and the Liverpool to Preston line by train from Burscough Rail Stations. Visit the web site http://www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere/ to find out what’s on all year round at Martin Mere and the other eight centres.