Falconry for Schools Director Judy Wrighte updates us on the project: Last week The Countryside Alliance Foundation with the ‘Falconry for Schools’ project was invited to attend another ‘Countryside Day’ for schools held at Rotherfield Park Estate, East Tidsted, Hampshire. This Countryside Day was designed to enable pupils to learn about what happens on a country estate today and how it has changed over the years. Throughout the day the pupils from the schools visited a carousel of various activity stations across the Rotherfield Park Estate. The activities from estate staff and from external organisations provided the pupils with an overview of their job, the tasks they undertake and the importance of their job in maintaining the estate and the countryside.
These activities included an outside tour of the house with Sir James Scott, a tour of the kitchens with Lady Scott, where the children took part in a tasting and preserving exercise, gardening where the children had a go at testing their ‘green fingers’, woodland management, gamekeeping, deer management and falconry. At the falconry activity station, the pupils learned about the role of falconry on a countryside estate and became ‘Apprentice Falconers’, learning about the different pieces of falconry equipment, the birds’ health and fitness, and how the birds should have a balanced diet.
Practical activities included a ‘mix and match’ game on the subject of healthy eating, ‘guess the weight’ of a bird and swinging a swing lure at various targets. The pupils also got to hold three of the birds, so they could have a close look at the birds and have a look at all the falconry furniture. The swing lure was then put into practise by flying a falcon. “The children got such a lot out of the falconry activity”, explained Laura Veltom, the Countryside Education Practitioner for Hampshire Country Learning.
The Countryside Investigators website complimented the day and teachers were directed to this resource for extended learning activities after their visit to the estate. The schools were also provided with a learning resource on falconry, its history, purpose and its role today, as well as seeing how much the pupils had learnt with a picture exercise on the identification of various pieces of equipment.