Munching Caterpillar News

Mendip Rocks!

September 29, 2014

On Friday 26th September 2014 we attended the Mendip Rocks schools day at Burrington Combe, Somerset. The day was planned by a partnership of organisations including Mendip Hills AONB, Somerset Earth Science Centre, and Somerset Wildlife Trust. Four KS2 classes from local schools were invited on a field trip to Burrington Combe and take part in four fun workshops. Each workshop was run by a different organisation but all were designed to teach the children about the area, its geology and its wildlife.

Munching Caterpillars’ workshop aimed to get the children thinking about butterflies, moths and their habitat. The session began with a team building exercise in the form of a lifecycle race! Each child was given a picture and they had to work as a team to rearrange themselves in the order of the lifecycle in the quickest possible time. Shipham Church of England School led the competition with an impressive time of just 46 seconds, 10 seconds faster than any other school!

We then looked at why Burrington Combe is good for some types of butterflies. The limestone rock faces not only provide shelter but the thin soils encourage an array of delicate wild flowers such as wild thyme and field scabious to grow. These are great nectar sources for butterflies and some are good food plants for caterpillars too. The children all got to plant their own wild flower plug plant to take home and grow in their gardens.

Lastly, we talked about camouflage and colouration, looking at some live moths and designing our own caterpillars.

School children invent their own caterpillars at Mendip Rocks

School children invent their own caterpillars at Mendip Rocks

The day was a great success with a total of 104 children taking part. One girl from Shipham School even said that this ‘was the best school trip ever!’.