During Sidmouth’s annual Science Festival (October 9th – 18th) Wild East Devon Education Rangers, along with Jon Ball from the Science festival committee,  were involved in running outdoor activities for 195 school children from the local area.

Pupils from Newton Poppleford explored the parish field, discovering a variety of animals living in and around the River Otter. Pupils found a number of different species of spiders including garden spiders, crab spiders and wolf spiders and observed a spider catching its prey in a web and wrapping it up ready to digest! We recorded the greatest number of Bullhead fish ever caught by a group of school pupils that day, with Year 6 catching 45 fish in one dipping session!

Pupils from Sidmouth's St John’s school visited the ‘The Byes’ where they explored their local green space using nets to discover what was living in the underwater habitat of the River Sid. They found three species of fish; Bullhead, Stone Loach and a European Eel, and a plentiful supply of freshwater invertebrates. Some groups also investigated how fast the river was flowing by timing pine cones floating along a measured stretch of the water. Children found a wide variety of minibeasts living around the meadow including a fascinating parasitic wasp which had a long Ovipositor, which looks like a tail, but is in fact the means by which the wasp lays its eggs.

Everyone said that they had fun and most (including some of the adults) had seen a creature that they’d never seen before! Pupils from Newton Poppleford school said that stream dipping was the highlight of their half term.