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Lucy, Cheryl and Ianto's Nature Blog

Three intrepid members of Hive Helpers youth group, HH CLUB, are currently undertaking the EXPLORER level of the John Muir Award. Join them on their journey as they discover wild places, explore the great outdoors, conserve and protect the nature around them and share it all with you here, in this blog!

Welcome to our blog!


The John Muir Award is an award that you can gain by learning about the environment and the importance of conservation in wildlife. I believe it is very important as you get to learn about the animals that may be endangered and how to help them thrive again as well as just enjoying the outdoors. 

By Lucy


Working on the John Muir Award 

I see nature not as something we live alongside, but as something we live in. We are nature! We are an important part of it and our actions affect all of it. Being able to work with young people at Hive Helpers and share in the beliefs of John Muir is very rewarding. To see how everyone at the group embrace nature, discover it, understand it’s important, learn from it, enjoy and protect it is a wonderful feeling. It is a real force for good and gives me hope for the future.

By Ianto



Lake at Dusk

How wild places make me feel

Wild places make me feel free and connected! I enjoy swimming in the sea, rivers and lakes, in cold fresh water. I enjoy studying the biodiversity, ecology and geology underneath the water. I forget all the troubles and trappings of modern day life, and I feel connected to the earth and my ancestors. They land and waters the hunted, gathered from, fished and farmed. Losing many of my family members young I am able to connect with them through continuing traditions of enjoying wild places, fishing, foraging and preserving wild flavours in the ways they did for thousands of years. I am now able to guide my children through those same wild landscapes, and teach them the importance of protecting and preserving wild places.

By Ianto


Litter Pick

I chose to do litter picking as this is a huge problem faced in nature due to the public having no care and fly tipping. I bought a litter picker for £3.57 which is all the equipment you need to make a difference.  

I went to the Woking road layby where I used my litter picker and a bag to collect all the rubbish I could see that had been dumped.  This included several glass bottles , cans , paper and a few plastic bags which can harm the native wildlife and cause fires if the glass is exposed to the sun , I will plan to go back every month to collect any new discarded rubbish.

By Lucy

Image by Jon Tyson



At the beginning of April I supported 'The Minibeasts' with their monthly outdoor activity - an alternative egg hunt. The children had to run around Farnham Community Farm and look for photographs and clues all about creatures that lay eggs. They included butterflies, snails, toads, frogs, honeybees, a blackbird and a robin. Each clue and picture led to a question which Erica (Hive Heplers leader) asked the children before they moved on to the next one. Much fun was had by all but the main objective was that the children took away some interesting facts about nature and life cycles. 


In July, the session was all about bug hunting. The children and their families had the whole farm and Runfold Ridge to explore for insects. Everyone was equipped with nets, specimen pots and identification books. Many creatures were spotted including, ladybirds, nursery spiders, centipedes, millipedes and grasshoppers. This was a great event which allowed children to get up close to nature and learn about diversity and local habitats.

By Cheryl


Bumblebee Transect

Today we mapped out a pollinator transect and surveyed the bumblebee species we spotted by following a route and writing down the bee species and what plant they were found collecting pollen from , this is important as it tells us which areas in nature are decreasing in bee diversity and others which are thriving well with the wild flowers in that environment.

By Lucy



Yellow Rattle


Today we walked across runfold ridge to plant some yellow rattle seeds to help other wild flowers thrive , we crush up the flower heads with the seeds and rake back an area of grass then scatter them. This should help weaken the grass allowing more space for the flowers to grow. Yellow Rattle plants attach to the grass root removing the nutrients and water making the grass weaker and easier to grow through. As we walked over runfold ridge we removed golden rod, a type of invasive plant species that takes over large areas removing important flowers for pollinators and reducing plant diversity

By Lucy.



Sustainability Festival

Farnham Community Farm hosted a sustainability festival in Gostery Meadows, Farnham on 11th June 2023. It is an annual event which they've been involved with for over five years. The farm grow to organic principles, producing seasonal vegetables with a focus on sustainability and minimal food miles. The farm also houses an apiary run by Erica 


The theme this year was recycle, repair and reuse. It's aim was to attract local groups, organisations, and businesses who can spread messages about making a difference to the environment. Festival goers could pick up useful tips and information from stall holders whilst also supporting their vision to be eco aware.

During the day I spent my time helping out on two stalls - Farnham Community Farm with their vegan food and Hive Helpers (everything you could possibly want to know about bees and honey!) I  also popped along to the 'Make do and Mend' tent where Elaine demonstrated how to repair a tear in my coat, and finally to the talk tent where Erica from Hive Helpers did a Q+A session.  Many questions were answered, including one of mine about a bee's natural habitat. 

 It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and the festival's message was successfully conveyed. 

By Cheryl


Today we took a hike to blacknest fields and found a small slowworm under a sheet of metal and kept an eye out for any lizards , our group leader spotted one but it had hidden by the time we got to it. We then transported some wood chipping to choke weeds by the fences and keep the fields healthy and neat.

By Lucy.


Blacknest Fields


Who was John Muir?

John Muir was at the forefront of conservation - his whole life's work shows appreciation towards nature. His legacy has had a positive effect on the world. If it wasn't for John Muir, there is a chance that so many national parks we enjoy today wouldn't exist. He has been called 'John of the Mountains' and 'The Father of National Parks.' 


John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland in 1838. During his early years his was fascinated by the landscape and coastline around Dunbar. His passion for wild places began at an early age. 


In 1849, when John was 11, his family moved to America. John didn't receive any kind of formal education, he had to teach himself. He worked for his father as a farm labourer which helped to deepen his love for the outdoors. He went on to study at university where he began to learn and have an interest in Geology.


In 1867, he decided to take a long walking trip to the South. He walked from, Indianapolis, Indiana to Cedar Key, Florida. He kept a nature diary during his journey. It was published after his death - 'A Thousand - Mile Walk to the Gulf.' After that he went to San Francisco, California. When he arrived, Muir headed to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He lived in the Yosemite Valley for over two years. He built a cabin next to a creek which had a stream running through so he could listen to sound of the  water.  From there he travelled to other places, including Alaska, Oregon and Utah. 


In the 1870's John Muir began to write about the beauty of nature. He highlighted the importance of setting aside the land to be national parks. His efforts convinced many people to do something to protect the land. In 1892 Muir and some others created the Sierra Club to help conserve wild lands. It is the largest and most environmental organisation in The States.


John Muir died on 24th December 1914 and although he spent the majority of his time in America, he never forgot his Scottish roots. In 2014, the centenary of his death, The John Muir Way was launched. It provides an outstanding coast to coast route (134 miles) across the landscapes of Central Scotland. It attracts local people and visitors to appreciate and understand John's legacy through getting closer to nature.

By Cheryl.


'Between every two pine trees, there is a door leading to a new way of life'

 John Muir


'The mountains are calling, I must go'

 John Muir


Arboretum walk

This evening I visited The Arboretum in Alice Holt Forest. It dates back to the 1950's when it was planted by scientists to provide a collection of tree species from around the world for the purpose of research and education. One of the youth leaders described it as 'a tree museum.' Arboretum comes from the Latin arbor,  'tree' and etum, 'place' meaning a place of trees.


All of the trees that I noticed on the walk were absolutely stunning. I have never thought about how impressive trees could be. I had to stretch my neck up so high to appreciate their great beauty. 

I spotted 11 different species along the tree trail but there are 30 labelled trees in total to be discovered. Among the collection were Alders, Oaks, Yews, Pines, Sweet Chestnuts and Spruces.


Afterwards, I helped to forage tree resin. The resin was sticky, thick and an amber sort of colour once picked but an off white  colour against the tree bark. Tree resin is used in varnishes, adhesives, perfumes and cosmetics. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties too. It was very easy to spot as it was oozing from some trees, seeping through the bark. I placed a spoon underneath a blister and gently scraped it off. It was then placed in a jar. It smelt divine - almost pine like. The resin was from an Oriental Spruce.

By Cheryl



Rainy digging

Today, we prepared an area of land for planting flowers to create a bee buffet. We mapped out where the strip was going to be with wooden stakes and string and then began digging and rolling out the dirt to remove any grass from the area. It was incredibly rainy but fun to work on.

By Lucy



Crow Painting

By Lucy


Woodland Dusk Nature Walk

It has been a long, cold, wet winter and it feels spring has still not arrived, but we were hopeful of finding life in the forest. So as dusk was falling we headed deep into alice holt armed with head torches and flasks of hot chocolate!


We were eager to spot deer and their tracks, toads, squirrels, owls and more. During this time of year (early spring) animals start to stir and are often carrying young, or are on their way to breed.


While walking through the forest we checked known deer runs crossing the path, we were looking for deer tracks that show the back cloven hooves spread far apart, a sign of a deer carrying the extra weight of young. After lots of searching and getting muddy in the ditches we found evidence of deer!


Marley read a sign asking us to take a moment of silence to appreciate the sounds and aura of the forest. We gladly did, we listened to the trees move in the wind and owls call out.


We played in the park, refuelled on hot chocolate and biscuits and headed back. On route we were lucky enough to cross paths with 2 toads. It was the beginning of their migration back to their birthing ponds to spawn and continue the circle of life once more.

By Ianto



Going plastic-free

Today we made bees wax wraps, an environmentally friendly alternative to cling film made with a piece of fabric and melted down bees wax. You simple place the fabric on a tray, paint the wax on, blast it in the oven to make the wax even and then hang it to dry. It's reusable, durable and much safer for the planet.

By Lucy



Heathland management

Today we went to rowhill to remove an invasive plant called bracken from the hills of Heather, the bracken over grows the Heather causing it to be choked and killed off. So removing the bracken helps it to thrive and look nice again. 

Heather is an important plant to protect as it provides a pollinating ground for bees and other insects as it is full of nectar , it is also a good nesting site for birds.

By Lucy


Meditation with natural objects

What is mindfulness?

“Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you are sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgement.” More info can be found at

It was a cold night in the yurt up at our local community farm but we had the log burner stoked to keep us warm. Some of us brought blankets, pillows and oodies to get coazy and ready to meditate. The lights were dimed and our beeswax candles were lit. Firstly we focused on our smell by lighting incense and smelling herbs and spices of our choice. By cancelling our other senses, just using our smell really made us feel calm and peaceful.  

Then we passed round some shells, rocks and fossils to activate our sense of touch. Just closing our eyes and focusing on the feeling of the object, really made us appreciate the detail and the significance of such a small object a lot more.

Next we started a crystal based meditation called crystal dedication. We chose crystals not with our eyes but with our heart, sometimes the crystals chose us! Next we washed our crystals to remove any bad energy. We held our crystals and dedicated them to a matter or person close to our heart. We tried to charge our crystals in the moonlight, but it was a bit cloudy! so the next day when the sun was out we left them outside to absorb some of the suns energy!

By Ianto and Marley



Stag Beetle Stumpery


Today we ventured to Blacknest Fields to do some conservation work in the meadows, we worked on building a stag beetle nest by digging a hole and filling it with sticks standing vertically and filled any gaps with the natural clay and dry dirt with some extra moss and leaves on top to seal any air gaps. This replicates a tree stump which is where stag beetles like t lay their eggs and helps with the stag beetle population and helps them thrive. 

We also helped with putting circles of thick wood chippings around the apple trees. Two other members may have spotted a stag beetle, but they aren't certain, but we hope it is as they are a fairly rare sight.

During our work we spotted three different kites flying above the field which was nice to see.

By Lucy


Garden Birdwatch

We did a great garden bird watch where we surveyed the birds we saw for an hour , we mostly saw blue tits , goldfinches, pigeons, Robins and a nuthatch. We also made a feeder with lard and some peanuts and seeds which will set and make great snacks for the birds to feed on.

By Lucy

bird watch data 2023_edited.jpg


Sunrise Picture

By Lucy

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