Celebrating Santes Dwynwen – Natural Hearts
Santes Dwynwen was a Welsh Princess, the daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog. She fell in love with Prince Maelon and wanted to marry him. However, her Father did not like him and had already arranged for her to marry another man. Dwynwen ran away to the woods in the hope that she would forget about Prince Maelon. She fell asleep in the woods and in her dream she met an angel who granted her the position of the Welsh Saint of Lovers.
Celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day this year with a walk through our national park in search of hearts in nature – how many will you see? Will they be hiding in the hedgerows or will they be high up in the trees? Will you find a heart shaped leaf, a log or a stone? Whist on your local walk make your own natural hearts with natural materials. Take pictures of your natural hearts and make your very own Santes Dwynwen card to send to someone special.
When you get home can you ‘green your heart’ by writing an Eco-pledge? Can you do something small to help nature? Write an eco-pledge on a green heart and hang it somewhere special. The small steps that we all take can make a big difference.
Santes Dwynwen natural magic potion
In Wales on 25th January we celebrate Dwynwen as the patron saint of lovers.
It is said an angel brought a beautiful smelling potion to Dwynwen so she could forget her lost love Maelon. Dwynwen was then granted three wishes.What three wishes would you make?
Can you make a ‘potion’ using natural materials? (Please don’t taste it, just use your sense of smell!)
Use our recipe card to help you to write about your potion.
Creating beautiful ice windows
Go in search of beautiful natural items to create your very own ice windows.
Dydd Miwsig Cymru
Why not celebrate Dydd Miwsig Cymru on 4th February by creating music in your own school grounds… More details here https://www.gov.wales/welsh-language-music-day/
Create a Bird feeding log
Signs of Spring Nature Bookmark
Spring is such a beautiful time of the year. With fresh green growth, bright colours and beautiful shapes and textures. Go for a walk and collect a few natural materials to make your very pressed flowers and leaves Signs of Spring Nature Bookmark. This really is a hands-on activity to engage young people with nature and to appreciate its beauty.
Signs of Spring Spotter
Make the most of this exciting time of the year and go for a walk in search of the signs of Spring. There are so many things to look out for. You’ll see beautiful flowers, fresh green growth and buds and catkins. You’ll hear bees collecting nectar and see the sights of new life. Use our Signs of Spring Spotter guide and tick off what you spot.
Tiny tin can insect hotel
Re-use and re-cycle a few materials to make a tiny tin can insect hotel. Your tiny hotel will attract and be home and larder for a number of insect species. Choose different natural materials to fill your recycled tin cans.
St David – Do the little things!
It’s common knowledge that along with the leek and dragon, the daffodil is also a symbol of Wales.
However, did you know that not all daffodils are native to Wales. In fact, the native daffodil is quite rare! Most of the daffodils that we see are invasive species and have escaped from gardens.
Why not go for a walk to try to spot a native daffodil. It thrives in damp woodlands and meadows, grows in clumps, carpeting the ground, and is a short plant with six pale yellow petals surrounding a golden yellow trumpet.
Did you know that St David, the Patron Saint of Wales, told us all to do the little things! Can you do six little things to help nature? You could feed the birds, plant some bee loving plants, go for a walk in search of nature, pick up litter, etc.
Enjoy St David’s Day
Make something eggstra-ordinary and give a special homemade gift to help the bees and brighten up a garden near you!
Keep as busy as a bee this springtime holiday and make a gift that will bring joy and help our bees and pollinators. Did you know that we have 270 different species of bee in the UK? As the bees move around visiting plants, they transfer pollen between flowering plants and help the plants grow, breed and produce food. Without them we could not eat the wonderful variety of food we have today. Bees also pollinate 80% of wildflowers in Europe and make our gardens, verges and countryside very beautiful. So, if you want to do something to help the bees and make a special gift this Spring holiday then this is an activity you will enjoy! #breconbeaconsyoungambassadors
Bee and butterfly drinking station
A hands-on and creative way to attract nature into your garden. Get creative and make a simple but beautiful drinking station for the bees and butterflies that visit your garden.
Creating a leaf kebab
Autumn is the perfect time for finding lots of different coloured leaves. Whilst on a local walk how many different coloured leaves can you find? Can you thread them onto a thin, pointy twig to make a leaf kebab? Can you use the different colours to make a pattern?
A fun activity with puddles!
Some people don’t like the rain but we think it’s a great time to get out and about to enjoy and learn in puddles. So, grab your wellies and waterproofs, some string or wool, a ruler and a tape measure and make the most of the puddles around you.
Create mini nocturnal homes
Nocturnal animals are animals that are active during the night and sleep during the day. In order for them to survive they have had to adapt and develop their sense of sight, smell and hearing. The Bannau Brycheiniog National Park is home to a number of nocturnal animal species. Some of which are rare and endangered, and others are protected. One of the UK’s largest populations of the rare, lesser horseshoe bat is found in the Usk Valley. The dormouse is a European protected species and a few small but important populations are known to exist in the Bannau Brycheiniog. The Silurian moth which is a rare endangered species was discovered as a result of moth night surveys undertaken on the Black Mountains.
We have compiled a series of Fact Files so that you can learn more about our nocturnal animals
Nocturnal Animals – Fact Files
Not all animals in the National Park are nocturnal though. Some animals are diurnal and are active in the day and sleep at night. Can you think of any diurnal animals? Others are both nocturnal and diurnal! Have a go at our Venn diagram.
Venn Diagram Nocturnal Animals
Now, why don’t you use your skills to create your very own nocturnal animals. You could use clay and natural materials to create an owl, hedgehog, dormouse, or bat. Can you use natural materials you have found to create safe homes for your nocturnal animals?
If you’ve enjoyed building mini homes why don’t you build your very own den to play in.
Create an Ice Beacon
The Bannau Brycheiniog National Park is a protected and ‘living landscape’ where people live and work. People have made the Bannau Brycheiniog their home for thousands of years. It is believed that people used to light signal fires (Beacons) on the top of the mountains to warn off invaders or to communicate with others. Can you use natural material to create an Ice Beacon? We’ve used twigs to create ours, but you could use any natural materials that you come across on your local walk.
To make your Ice Beacon you’ll need:
- 2 containers, one smaller than the other
- Stones to weigh down the inside container
- Beautiful natural materials found on a local walk
- A cold night (or freezer)
- A tea light candle
Create a Natural ‘Mistar Urdd’
Nature Advent Calendar
Nature is full of so many beautiful and colourful objects. Count down to Christmas by collecting a different natural object every day. Gather your objects in your very own recycled advent calendar. What will you find?
Rugby Roots – Create your own twig Rugby Player
This weekend we see the start of the 6 Nations Rugby Championship. Did you know that a number of the greatest Welsh Rugby players and Referees have come from within the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park. In fact, one of our very own Wardens who lives in the National Park, is a well known Championship Referee. Last season he was the 4th official for the 6 Nations Rugby Championship.
At present the population for the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park is 33,000. If everybody who lives in the National Park went to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff to watch a game, we would only fill the top tier. However, if we took all the sheep from the National Park there would definitely not be enough grass for them to eat!
We have put together some ‘Rugby Roots’ Player Profiles. Can you use these cards and a Bannau Brycheiniog National Park map to identify where the players have come from? Why don’t you go out for a walk in search of natural materials associated with the 6 Nations Rugby Championship? You could make a Nature Rugby Ball Palette.
Now, why not create your very own ‘twig Rugby Players’? Can you find natural materials to represent the rugby shirts from all the 6 Nations? Why not create your favourite rugby player? We would love to see your ‘twig Rugby Players’.