The Big Family Day Out at Quarry Bank

The Big Family Day Out is a festival of volunteering, between 23rd July and 7th August, taking place across six National Trust properties. We’ve just finished up our events here at Quarry Bank which saw 70 people come together to make lots of bat and bird boxes as a family, for use around the estate to give our wildlife a helping hand.

In the morning we greeted the families and whilst the adults were briefed on health and safety, myself and the other members of the BFDO team kept the kids entertained with some fun games – leaving us all exhausted and the kids fairly excited!

One insect being chased by several little bats!
One insect being chased by several little bats!

On both days the families managed to make about 75 boxes between them! Some of the boxes will be put up around the estate by our rangers, the rest will be sold at our Autumn Wood Fair in September and all the proceeds will go towards the Quarry Bank Appeal.

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During lunch the kids had the chance to design their ‘perfect picnic’ with plasticine and felt tips – I’m not entirely convinced that a roast dinner is viable picnic food! We also played a few games and everyone had the chance to do a spot of bird watching and help build a ‘Bug House Hotel’.

Setting up 'The Bug House Hotel'
Setting up ‘The Bug House Hotel’

After we were fed and watered, we headed into the Southern woods on a ‘bug hunt’. The children really enjoyed turning over logs with our rangers and seeing what kinds of creepy crawlies they could unearth.

The end result! It was already full of insects within a couple of hours
The end result! It was already full of insects within a couple of hours

One girl, Amelia, was perplexed by the reaction that a slug provoked; “Some people don’t like slugs, I don’t understand! How can you not like slugs?!”

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Everyone really enjoyed getting involved and it became a bit of a competition between the families to see who could make the most boxes! We’d like to say a huge thank you to all the families involved and to the volunteers who gave up their time to pull the whole thing off.

The Big Family Day Out is a chance for your family and friends to come together for a day, do some good, have some fun and make a difference to a project that really needs a helping hand.

Amelia

The other properties which are involved in this initiative include Speke Hall, Dunham Massey, Cheshire Countryside, Formby and Lyme Park. Entry has now closed for these events but make sure you keep an eye out next year when we hope to introduce the Big Family Day Out nationally. If this is something that interests you then make sure you mention it to your employer so that you can get your company signed up next year. Here is the link to the BFDO website so you can see what sorts of activities you could get involved with: http://www.bigfamilydayout.org.uk/

A finished bat box ready to be put up on the estate
A finished bat box ready to be put up on the estate made by one of our lovely families

And don’t forget this Sunday, 8pm on Channel 4 is the first episode of The Mill!

Laura

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