There are lots of places to purchase equipment from which will suit a range of requirements and budgets. We’ve pulled together a list for you, and included some ideas for useful session packs too.
Equipment and resources
These sites sell a variety of things you may require.
- Gatekeeper ID Guides
- FSC ID guides and publications
- Wildflower plug plants
- Native pond plants/ wildflower plug plants/ seeds
A class can be divided into groups for a pond dipping session – each group having a set of equipment to share.
An example class set of equipment for 30 children.
- Nets -6-8 nets is about right for a class of 30 ( 1 net for each group )
- Trays ( 1 for each group + a few spares )
- Class pack of magnifiers
- Bug pots ( a couple for each group )
- Mix of ID guides e.g. FSC Name trail ID guides /Gatekeeper pond guides etc
- Sectioned specimen trays are often used in pond dipping to view smaller pond creatures but are not essential (6-well plastic paint pallets can be used instead), spoons can be used to collect specimens to place in separate sections
- Bucket – to collect pond water for filling the trays
An example of a set of pond dipping equipment is available from NHBS.
Nature detectives/ minibeast equipment & resources
- Seasonal detective worksheets ( e.g. signs or spring, summer, etc )
- ID Guides: including plants , bugs, trees , fungi, animal tracks and signs – can be alternated depending on season / activity/ year group
- Bug viewers
- Magnifying glasses
- Sweep nets (for catching invertebrates in longer grass)
Example Nature Detectives Kit
Fill a set of grab and go bags with resources that can be handed out to each group within a class.
Suggestions for contents:
- Magnifying glasses ( one for each pupil)
- Bug boxes
- Paint brush ( for gently getting bugs into bug boxes)
- Worksheet or tick sheet
- Seasonal nature detective sheet
- ID charts – e.g. minibeasts , plants, trees , fungi, animal tracks & signs, seasonal spotters
Citizen science projects your school can take part in:
- RSPB bird watch
- Big butterfly Count– zoom in on the interactive map to see which butterflies have been counted near to your school.
- OPAL explore nature – lots of citizen science and resources
- Great British bee count
Nature and wildlife apps for tablets
- The Wildlife Trusts: Nature finder app
- Woodland Trust Tree ID app
- There are also a number of plant identifier apps for apple and android technology.
Free online resources
There are also many free online resources providing a wealth or guidance, advice, free ID guides and activity ideas including:
Wildlife Watch – lots of free resources and ID guides
National Trust – free curriculum linked resources
Opal – lots of free resources and citizen science projects
Updated March 2021.