It's that time of the month again when we let you know what's been happening at the Wildwood Trust and what we have planned for the near future. We have lots of exciting events at the park during half-term, new research initiatives and partnerships, a new aquarium and some upcoming fundraising events that you can get involved in.

Our pine marten appeal to raise funds for our ongoing captive breeding programmes and research is up and running. We've had some fantastic TV coverage on The One Show and Meridian News which shows how we're working to get this wonderful creature back into our countryside.
If you want to find out more about any of the happenings at Wildwood, then please get in touch and thank you for your continued support!
 
February half-term

Monday 13th February - Sunday 19th February

Get those wellies ready for our February half-term extravaganza! We have planned a healthy mixture of mud and learning for the kids with a little mud and romance for the adults. Our legendary drop-slide will also be open for the whole week, although please be aware that because our bears are in torpor and not active, our bear bridge may not be open. We're looking forward to seeing you!


Spot the wellies!

Our new free trail for kids is an engaging adventure throughout the whole of Wildwood. Starting at the entrance, the little ones will have to solve a clue to figure out the location of the next welly. When they get there, they'll have to find the welly in the distance with a pair of provided binoculars and then note down the letter printed on the side of the welly on their trial page (don't forget to bring a pencil). We have four clues to solve and four wellies to spot in four different areas. All correctly submitted trial pages will be placed in a prize draw to win vouchers to spend anywhere at Wildwood. They can 'meet an animal', buy loads of chocolate or even get themselves a big fluffy wolf. The choice is theirs (or yours)!

* under 16s only


Daily talks & activities

We have fun and educational talks by our dedicated team of keepers throughout the week and free activities throughout the park.

Monday 13th February
12:00 - Wildcats
13:00 - Water shrews
14:00 - Lynx
 
Tuesday 14th February
11:00 - Pine marten
12:00 - Wildcats
14:00 - Chough
 
Wednesday 15th February
12:00 - Wildcats
13:00 - Water voles
14:00 - Chough
 
Thursday 16th February
11:00 - Pine marten
12:00 - Wildcats
14:00 - Chough
 
Friday 17th February
12:00 - Wildcats
13:00 - Water shrews
14:00 - Chough
 
Saturday 18th February
12:00 - Wildcats
13:00 - Water voles
14:00 - Chough
 
Sunday 19th February
12:00 - Wildcats
13:00 - Water shrews
14:00 - Lynx

Bookable events

All of our events take place between 10:30 and 11:30 and cost £4 per session (must be booked in advance). Please contact education@wildwoodtrust.org or phone 01227 712111 to book an event or find out more information.

Monday 13th February
Dinosaur crafts
 
Tuesday 14th February
Love your zoo
Show your zoo a little love this valentine's day; help us to make some presents for some of our animals and then see them delivered on a walk around the park.
 
Wednesday 15th February
Love birds
You may have seen some romance in the raven enclosure,  come and hear more about these amazing intelligent birds with a talk at the enclosure, make your own raven crafts to take home.
 
Thursday 16th February
Discovery day
Pay our education centre a visit to discover a few of the amazing animal artefacts hidden inside. Get hands-on with animal skulls, antlers and skins. Take our animal poo quiz and see how well you really know our animals.
 
Friday 17th February
Conservation club: beavers
Hear about our beautiful beavers and discover why we're celebrating their return to Britain. Make your own beaver crafts to take home.
 
Saturday 18th February
Muddy creatures
Celebrate the 'mud, glorious mud' in this rather mucky and hands-on outdoors creative session. Use mud and other natural materials to model your own muddy creatures, bring trees to life by giving them muddy modelled faces. This is not for the mud-shy!
 
Sunday 19th February
Mask making
Let your child become an animal of their choice with this mask-making craft session. From bears and wolves to hedgehogs and rabbits; there'll be enough mask choices that you'll be able to enact your very own zoo.
 
 
 
Valentine’s adoptions

Although a flock of ravens is called an “unkindness,” the birds appear to be anything but. They're extremely intelligent, very playful and once paired, they tend to nest together for life.

With the 14th February fast approaching, we have put together some special valentine adoption packs to celebrate our very own lovebirds at the park; Bena and Ike. It's the ideal unique and caring gift that lasts for the year!

Limited Edition Valentine's Raven Lovebird Adoption Pack, contains:

* Limited edition valentine-style box
* 6x4 mounted photo
* Red tissue paper
* Small ornamental rose
* Heart confetti
* Raven fact sheet
* Newsletter
* Wildwood car sticker

 

Rockpool aquarium

Come see our aquarium stocked with native British sealife. It's located next to the Ken West Aviary and gives a fascinating insight into the creatures living in our waters. Some of the tank inhabitants are very small so take a few moments to look at the rockpool and see how many species you can count. Animals in the tank include:

Shore crab (Carcinus maenas)
Common blenny (Lipophrys pholis)
Broad clawed porcelain crab (Porcellana playcheles)
Common whelk (Buccinum undatum)
Common periwinkle (Littorina littorea)
Sea spider (Nymphon gracile)
Sand hopper (Talitrus saltator)
Common barnacle (Chthamalus stellatus)
Sea lettuce (Ulva lactuce)
Sea sponge (Amphilectus fucorum)
Red sea weed (Ceramium virgatum)
Horned wrack (Fucus ceranoides)
 
 
 
Bear volunteers
A massive thank you to the volunteers who visited us on the 1st February and helped spruce up our bear enclosure.
The pond was dredged and cleaned, the fountain was decluttered, wayward logs were collected, trees were coppiced and both inside/outside of the enclosure was cleared of leaves.
There were A LOT of leaves.
 

Pine marten appeal

A donation doesn’t just support endangered pine martens today.
Remarkably, this is the Wildwood Trust’s sixth successful year of breeding thanks to the dedication, skills and understanding of our head keeper and his team who work tirelessly to ensure that conditions are perfect to bring about these happy and precious events.
Their skills have been perfected as part of our captive breeding programme in order that we can support the return of the pine marten to England in areas where we know they once lived.
As a charity, resources are tight and in order to continue, Wildwood Trust needs your support to ensure we see kits in our nesting boxes again this Spring.
For amazing footage of the first pine marten birth seen on film, see our story on The One Show.
To find out how we're using research to help reintroduction, see this interview from Meridian Tonight.
To help us to continue our research and breeding programmes in 2017, then please visit our 'how you can help' pages to find out more about the appeal.
 
Photo day

It's a fascinating time at Wildwood as we transition from winter into spring, and there are wonders to behold and capture for both novice and expert photographers.

We still have some spaces left to join resident photographer Dave on our upcoming Photo Day on February 28th. All photographers will get exclusive access and top tips on how to get the most out of your camera and the animals.

 

UKC Partnership

At the Wildwood Trust, we work closely with many academic institutions to research and further our understanding of native wildlife. We're proud to announce a new partnership with the University of Kent bio-science department, which will see seven students analysing fecal samples from an array of species here at Wildwood for their dissertation projects.

Shreya Rai, one of the seven students, will be working at Wildwood three days a week for the next seven weeks in our newly assigned bio-science Lab. We're excited to see the results!

 

Dormouse research

We're immensely proud of our conservation officer, Vicki Breakell, for her contribution to studies focusing on how the hazel dormouse uses its whiskers to cross habitats in the wild. The peer-reviewed journal paper was written in conjunction with members of The University of Sheffield and Manchester Metropolitan University, including our good friend Dr Robyn Grant, with much of the research taking place at Wildwood. The results could help towards halting the declining numbers of Hazel Dormice in the wild. Well done Vicki!

For more information on the paper, please see the story at MMU's website or read this article.

 

Kent mammal identification

Learn how to identify our larger mammals from their tracks, signs and sightings. This day course on Saturday 11th February at Wildwood includes a tour of the park to see some of the animals in the flesh and a close up examination of skins, skulls and antlers. Please note that this course does not include mice, voles or shrews, which are covered in the Small Mammal Survey Skills course.

9.45am - 4.15pm / £30 per person

 

Student conference

Our popular and informative student conference takes place on March 1st. This year, our special guest speaker will be Dr. Robyn Grant, who has been using Wildwood's small mammals as a basis behind her fascinating research into the relationship between whiskers and movement. 

Email: angus@wildwoodtrust.org for more information.

 

Arctic fox experience

Our Arctic fox experience on Wednesdays and Saturdays will be running until the end of March, and will not start up again until the Autumn.

We have limited spaces available, so book fast to meet our three siblings face-to-face!

 

Fundraising

Do you love British wildlife and woodland? Are you interested in helping us to help our wonderful native animals? One of the most enjoyable ways of giving money to a cause that you love is to start fundraising.
 
We're in partnership with the Kent Messenger Charity Team as one of their registered charities for the following four events happening in 2017. They're a lot of fun and Kent Messenger arranges everything. All you have to do is pledge and turn up on the day!
 
KM Colour run
Sunday June 11, 2017 staged at Betteshanger Country Park, Deal.
 
KM Dragon boat event
Sunday July 2, 2017 staged at Mote Park, Maidstone.
 
KM Big bike ride
Sunday April 23, 2017 starting at Betteshanger Country Park, Deal.
 
KM Charity walk
Sunday June 25, 2017 staring at Mote Park, Maidstone.