Angry acid-spitting creatures in Parkhurst Forest

Matthew Chatfield
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The refurbished red squirrel hide at Parkhurst Forest was launched this weekend by Gift to Nature. I was there to take a guided walk and also a group of children from Hunnyhill Primary School round and show them the hide, plus a few other things!

I promised that I’d show the visitors angry acid-spitting animals – and I did! Parkhurst has some suitably irate wood ants, and by teasing them with a bit of litmus paper on a stick we could demonstrate that they genuinely do spit acid. 

We also had a look at the fungi in the woods, and played a few fun games including the old classic Meet a Tree – it used to be called Hug a Tree but tree-hugging has become a term of abuse, so the updated name is a but less hippy-ish. Same game though!

It was great fun taking out a group to do environmental games again. I used to do it a lot but I haven’t done it for about 10 years. I am glad to say it all came back to me pretty well. I was delighted when one little girl came to say goodbye, thanked me and said “I’ve never been here before but I’m going to come back!” That’s exactly what it’s all about.

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

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