The Kestrel award is a great way to connect with nature! The award has four wildlife challenges – Create it!, Do it!, Record it! and Shout about it! Once all the challenges are completed you receive a certificate and a badge, and the Kestrel icon will be added to your website profile!
To take part in the Kestrel award you must be over the age of eight and a member of Wildlife Watch. Fancy giving it a go? Have a read about young people who have completed their Kestrel award and maybe you’ll feel inspired!
Katie Knight from the Sark Group of the Alderney Wildlife Trust achieved her Kestrel award in 2014.
For her Create it! challenge Katie decided to make a cake in the shape of a bird’s nest. She made the fruit cake herself and baked it for an hour then, while it was still soft, shaped the hollow of the nest. Next she made a chocolate coating and added chocolate flakes to get the texture just right.
When she had completed the cake, she sold raffle tickets for it and made £90 for Sark Watch! Doesn’t her completed cake look just delicious?
Jack Bradbury is a wildlife watch member at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, and visits Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve on a Tuesday after school and on Saturdays!
Jack is a keen birder, with a specific interest in birds of prey. For his Kestrel Award Jack visited Brandon Marsh over 6 months, recording all of his sightings in a diary form and also took some photos of what he managed to see. A highlight for Jack was seeing a merlin, and he also managed to hear the cuckoo and bittern. He had to create a natural collage, which he made of a goldcrest, Jack said this was the hardest part of the whole project; he then wrote a brilliant poem and also drew a fantastic sketch.
Then he had to install and maintain bird feeder in his garden, which can be seen in the before and after pictures and create a wildlife pond in his garden, which he built up from nothing. Finally Jack had to shout about it! Jack created a fantastic display board for Warwickshire Wildlife Trust's Visitor Centre at Brandon Marsh for all of our visitors to recognise his great work, and an accompanying comments book where he received great feedback from staff, members of the public and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust's CEO, Ed Green. Jack really enjoyed completing his Kestrel award and is already planning his project for the Nature Ranger Award.
Wilf Turner from Avon Wildlife Trust achieved his Kestrel award in 2015 by becoming a pond scientist!
Wilf spent six months creating and monitoring a pond in his garden and he said the difference was amazing! He dug the pond and surveyed the wildlife that visited. He said there were even frogs and dragonfly nymphs!
As part of his survey he looked at how all the wildlife and plants changed in his garden though the seasons, which he found really interesting to see. He recorded bird counts and butterfly watches, and entered his butterfly results into the Big Butterfly Count. Wilf even stood up in front of his class and told them all about his Kestrel Award, which he found was a lot less scary than he thought it would be! He said he got really positive feedback and many of his classmates were inspired to help wildlife. What a superstar!
Nathan Bach, Wildlife Watch member at Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust is a massive enthusiast of the great crested newt. Nathan used his passion for the beloved amphibian to complete his Kestrel Award.
Starting by writing poems for his Wildlife Watch local newsletter, Nathan soon became engaged in many activities based on his affection of the great crested newt including painting, surveying, pond making and the creation of a stop motion animation.
To document all his wildlife activities and sightings Nathan created his own online blog where he wrote about the wildlife along his local canal and how this changed over the seasons.
On completion of his Kestrel Award Nathan carried out a presentation to his classmates which included newt shaped biscuits, a practical activity of making bird feeders and a word search. Following on from his presentation, Nathan sent out a letter to many wildlife enthusiasts showing his hard work towards the great crested newt. Excitingly, Nathan received responses from Chris Packham, David Attenborough, Clarence House and Guy Thompson! Since then, Nathan has been invited to the Natural History Museum to meet their amphibian curator Dr Clarke to take a look at some of their specimens. How exciting!
Nathan says, “I enjoyed every single thing I did for my Kestrel Award but definitely the best thing was going on the Great Crested Newt survey with Laura and Neill from the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. It was probably the best thing I have ever done because I'm mad about Great Crested Newts!”
As part of his Kestrel Award, Robert Reed, Wildlife Watch member at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, decided to record and learn about the snails in his garden. Robert captured snails, marked different numbers onto their shells with tippex, and then released them. By recapturing and releasing them, Robert began to understand lots of exciting snail behaviours. He learnt how far they travelled, how the weather affected them and the different types of species in his garden.
In total, Robert discovered four different types of snail: common, banded, glass and strawberry. Robert photographed and measured each snail that he found and he recorded their movements by using charts based upon their numbers. Over time, Robert began noticing patterns: number 20 for example, was always in the pot by the back door at 9pm.
Although Robert has completed his Kestrel award, his passion and intrigue for snails continues. In the summer (when the snails return from hibernation), Robert plans to re-capture and measure the snails once more to see if any have grown.
“I started this project in October 2013 and even though I now have my Kestrel award I will carry on recording the snails.”
Millie Vass, Wildlife Watch member at Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, became the first person in Berkshire to complete her Kestrel Award. Using her passion for wildlife, Millie completed a 6 month nature diary of the wildlife spotted in her garden and her local park. Always finding new and creative ways to record her information, Millie photographed, pressed flowers, drew maps, painted and dissected flowers.
For her 8th birthday, Millie encouraged her friends to go on a nature trail – following a map that she had created. Afterwards, she inspired her friends to design their own nature gardens while they enjoyed munching on her homemade chocolate button hedgehog cake.
Millie’s passion for the environment didn’t stop there. After reading an article about hedgehogs getting stuck in crisp packets, she wrote to her local council asking if they could put in a bin in the alley near her school, which they successfully supplied.
Putting far more work into the award than was expected, Millie also spent her time making a mole collage composed from recycled fabrics, helped to plant 8,000 daffodil bulbs and tree seedlings in Winnersh Meadows, took part litter picking in her local area and even embraced nature themed poetry! Woah! Well done Millie!
If you would like to take part in the Kestrel award, please contact your local Wildlife Trust and ask for a Kestrel Award Card. (You need to be a member of your local Trust to take part).