Phase 1 of an octant must be about trying new things and should last for a couple of hours. These are the adventures I had to achieve Phase 1 of the Out of Doors Octant …
Phase 1: Try a Segway forest trail
This was my first time riding a segway and it was much easier than I expected. Just gentle movements backwards and forwards to move, and leaning the handles from side to side to steer. This segway trail took us through the forest of Elvden, Centre Parcs in December 2013.
The activity made a usual trail through the forest a new experience. The basics of segways were easy to master, so most of this activity involved just enjoying being in the forest. The most difficult task was learning to move up and down mounds within the forest.
Phase 1: Take part in a Bush Craft session
In November 2014 I took part in a two and a half hour session of Bush Craft at Elvden, Center Parcs. The first activity was to study images of tracks left by a range of animals and to decide what they were. The expert talked us through the pictures and we became able to spot different deer by the size of their prints, the difference between rabbits and hares and also otters, dogs, cats and human.
We then headed into the forest to discover the different uses of plants. For example never burn the leaves of Elder trees as these become poisonous. We also looked at stinging nettles and was shown how to hold them without being stung. Nettles have a range of uses from tea to shampoo, plus crushing the leaves produces a liquid that will sooth the stings it causes.
I really enjoyed looking for tracks within the forest. This became easier by getting on the ground, shutting eyes and feeling the dips in the ground.
My favourite part was learning about navigation. We were shown how to use a watch as a compass, either analogue or digital, how to make a sundial, how to find the North Star and also how to navigate using any star if you cannot find the North Star.
We were shown how to start a fire using material from trees or tree stumps. We also had a brief session discussing the different type of trees and how to identify them.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the session and would like to take it further by learning more about constellations, and being able to identify all the common trees and leaves.
Phase 1: Build a bird table and take part in RSPB Big Bird Watch
After receiving an email from Girlguiding we considered including the RSPB Big Bird Watch into our Brownie programme. The Brownies then chose Wildlife Explorer as the interest badge they wished to work towards in Spring 2015 so this became a part of our termly activities.
To be able to run the badge efficiently I studied which are common birds for our area. I was given the parts to build a bird table for Christmas 2014, and after building this on 2nd January 2015 regularly fed birds in the garden.
The more regular visitors are woodpigeons, blackbirds, and sparrows. When I notice birds I do not recognise I use the rspb.org.uk website to identify what they are.
Using the Brownie Adventure book page 51 the Brownies made yoghurt pot bird feeders. Each girl was given a RSPB bird watch printout to know which birds to look out for. I collected all the data from the Brownies and input this to RSPB and as a unit we received a certificate for our work.
Since then we now have a bird bath beside the table and notice a lot more birds visiting the garden, including some nests in the trees.