In July this year we ran a mini series of special natural history walks. This was mainly thanks to Alan Nelson, staff member of School of Applied Sciences, who offered to do a number of early Thursday evening guided walks for us. Additionally, the Community Centre provided financial support in form of transport – individual taxis and a minibus, to be precise! Three of these special walks took place: to Caldecotte Lake; from Olney to Clifton Reynes; and around Emberton Country Park. The events proved to be extremely popular, with more than 20 students and staff attending the first two events and a smaller number attending the third (influenced by the bad weather on that day).
Alan has in-depth knowledge of fauna and flora; dragonflies in particular. Attending one of his guided walks allowed us to see nature in a very different light. Our faces lit up and we listened intently; whether Alan was describing a longbow – a medieval historical weapon made from yew wood, discussing diseases troubling horse-chestnut trees, keelhauling, various plants such as teasel or the fact that a cygnet could be eaten by fox.
Now that autumn season is approaching and colour of the trees is changing so beautifully, it would be perfect to have a tree talk. I approached in person the Farm Woodland Forum, whose secretary happens to be Cranfield University member of staff, whether they could do a special interest walk for us. However, they don’t think they can help us at present. So the hunt for a tree expert is still on!
If you are a tree expert or have any other natural history/botany expertise and would be happy to do either a lunchtime, short, guided walk or a longer weekend walk for our group, please contact us. Above all, you will be rewarded by knowing you have enriched life of many of our students.