A More Eco Summer

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The War on Plastic and David Attenborough have done a great job of informing us on the issues our environment is facing today; in some cases leaving us feel a little helpless with where to start.

Cheltenham mum Beth Kellie has put together a list with some great ideas of how you and your children reconnect with nature this summer, do your bit for the environment and have a great time while taking small steps to make a big difference.

Out and About in Nature

Family Friendly Day at Crickley Hill in partnership with the National Trust (Free): Join us for a fun-filled, family-friendly day at Crickley Hill. Archery, welly wanging and face painting are just some of the activities on offer. Sunday 21 July 12 – 4pm (Free, small charge for some activities). Find out more.

Night-time Nature Safari for Families at Crickley Hill in partnership with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (££): Explore Crickley Hill after dark and keep an eye (and ear) out for its nocturnal inhabitants with GWT Reserve Officer Dan Winter. Hot drinks will be provided. Friday 2 August 20.30-22.30 £10pp. Find out more.

Cleeve Common Stream Dipping & Raft Racing (£): A summer holiday classic! A chance to investigate the Cleeve Common stream in Watery Bottom. Bring a picnic and make a day of it in this beautiful spot, whilst relaxing make a raft and see if yours is the fastest to race across the water. Friday 23 August 1-4pm £2.50 per child, accompanying adults free. All children must be supervised at all times. Find out more.

Nature Connections Forest School Summer Holiday Sessions (££): Britta is running her fabulous forest school sessions with are a mixture of guided activities and free play including mud play, stories, wild art, bug hunting and generally having a lovely, relaxing time surrounded by nature – good for body and soul, for children and grown ups alike. Held at Ebworth (near Birdlip), Rococo Gardens (Painswick) and Hailey Wood (Cirencester) on specific dates in the holidays. The sessions are suitable from 18m-8 years with younger siblings welcome. £6 per child, £10 for two. Various dates available. Find out more.

Feed the ducks (£minimal): Swap the white bread for something much healthier for the wildlife. The Canal River Trust recommends sweetcorn (tinned, frozen or fresh), lettuce, frozen peas (defrosted), oats, seed and leftover rice. Cheltenham has lots of great parts with Pittville and Hatherley being great places to visit and feed our feathered friends.

Go for a family walk (£Free): Glos Live have tracked down the 10 best buggy friendly walks. Perfect for those days when you need to get out of the house for some fresh air and exercise. Find out more.

Cheltenham Children’s Library (£Free): Pop in and browse or borrow some books on nature, animals and wildlife. The library is based in the centre of town on Clarence Street, behind the main library and Boston Tea Party. Find out more.

Helping Nature Thrive

Make a DIY Bee Bath at Home (Free): Work with on old bowl or saucer and stones found in your garden or local park or wood to help save the bees. Here’s a handy how-to video. Find out more.

Make wild seed bombs at home (£): Your kids will love this craft because it’s fun and messy! Once you’re done, all you need to do is toss the seed bomb into any other pile of dirt and it’ll grow. Be sure to stop by again after about a month (and after it’s rained a few times!) and you’ll see gorgeous wildflowers growing where you dropped the bomb! Wildflowers are great for encouraging bees and wildlife! Find out more.

Make a bee hotel (££): Come and build your very own solitary bee five-star accommodation at our easy-to-make bee hotel workshop. Solitary bees aren’t like honeybees that live in hives. As their name suggests, they make their nests on their own and lay their eggs in tunnels, such as in dead wood or hard soil. A bee B&B mimics these conditions. This workshop is designed for children (3+) and adults to complete together but children of all ages are welcome. Homemade cake and tea and coffee included. Wednesday 31 July 10.30-12.30 £10 per adult, children free and welcome with toys for younger children provided. Find out more.

Ways to Reduce Your Family’s Plastic

How to Make an Eco Brick (£): Join Andrea who is a certified Eco Brick trainer for her new initiative – creating Eco Bricks. Eco Bricks are a great way to deal with all your unrecyclable plastic and be part of a new community project. Sunday 28 July 2-4pm. Adults £5.50, accompanied children free and welcome. Find out more.

Make your own eco cleaning products (££): Join the lovely Victoria at The Motherhood Society an eco-chemistry lesson and take home your own natural, eco-friendly surface cleaner and toilet cleaning bombs. All the ingredients and equipment (including a glass spray bottle and ice cube tray) will be provided and available for you to take home to continue to make your own products for a fraction of the price of the big branded cleaners. All the ingredients are safe for children and animals. Homemade cake and tea and coffee included. 24 July 10.30-12.30pm £10 per adult, children free and welcome with toys for younger children provided. Find out more.

Recycle all your hard to recycle waste (Free): Did you know you can recycle things that don’t go in your council collections? Do your bit for the environment this summer and raise money for charity at the same time:

  • - The Facebook Group KC Recycling Collection – Cheltenham and Gloucester recycle the most. Join the group and find a local drop off point. All the recycling raises money for Kicks Count.
  • - The Hive Community Space on Tewkesbury Road collect bras, baby food pouches and cards raising money for Gloucestershire Bundles, Cobalt and Against Breast Cancer as well as plastic lidded bottles, nappy outer wrappers and wet wipes cases for the Eco Bricks Community Project.
  • - Crisp, nut, popcorn and pretzel packets as well as children’s food pouches can be dropped off in the white recycling bin in Sainsbury’s Local on the High Street raising money for St John’s Church of England Primary School.

Shop local for easy plastic free and environmentally friendly options (£Various)

  • Foodloose on Portland Street has a fabulous selection of organic and fair trade dried goods such as beans, seeds, dried fruit, grains and nuts as well as refillable household and personal cleaning products. It’s well worth a trip to see what they have instore….they even sell chocolate buttons!
  • Primrose Vale sell their own fruit and veg and have a great Pick Your Own which makes for a great family outing. With a new playground being built for the summer holidays there is plenty of fun to be had.
  • For children in need of a few new playthings there are lots of great bargains to be had on the Blue Skies and Cheltenham Mums Noticeboard Facebook pages. If you want to buy new Toys to Grow on the first floor of the Regent Arcade have a great selection of wooden and recycled plastic toys for sale.

For the Adults/Older Ones

Climate Emergency Assembly: If you want to hear what our council is doing come along to the Municipal Offices Cheltenham. You will be given a change to have your say in a meeting chaired by Cheltenham Liberal Democrat Max Wilkinson who led moves to declare a climate emergency earlier this year. Tuesday 6 August 7.15pm. Find out more.

Lush Clothes Swap Cheltenham: Trying to promote awareness of “fast-fashion”, plastics used in fashion as well as educating towards making better, more conscious choices to help our environment in as many ways as possible Lush are holding their first ever store clothes swap. A clothing swap is a type of swap meet-up where participants exchange their valued but no longer used clothing for clothing they will use. Wednesday 7 August 7pm. Find out more.

xxx

A guest article from Beth Kellie.