Welcome to the Balsam Blog, home in the internet world of the Falkland Islands Protected Areas Project.

I'll be using this blog to let people know what I've been up to and to share bits of useful information I pick up along the way. My project is subtitled 'Co-operative management of biological diversity', so that means you. The project will need your knowledge, concerns and hopes for the future to drive it along, so do contribute.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

It's finished!

This is the last time I will talk about interpretation for a while, but I wanted to share the finished article.
The criteria for this leaflet were quite narrow:
  • it had to be small enough to fit into a child's pocket
  • it had to be sturdy enough not to blow away or crease up too badly
  • the text had to be readable by someone who's only 6
  • it didn't need to teach anything new; the children should already know about the animals and plants, and will have learnt about biosecurity and the countryside code. 
  • it had to give them something to do if teachers and helpers found their attention flagging
The trip to the island will take place in a couple of weeks time. I'll be looking forward to hearing how it went.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Less is more

 I have been doing a final piece of interpretation for the school kids to use on their trip to Kidney Island this year. The Barnaby Bear books and activities are intended for use in the classroom. However, on last year's trip, fab though it was, we all felt that there were moments when the children needed a bit more direction. I'm not a fan of unwieldy worksheets on school trips, so I've gone for the very simplest of trails, based on the senses.
The text is not finished yet, but I just wanted to share Ben's illustrations because they are really great. He says he hasn't done anything like this before! I'm keeping the text to a minimum; the children are only 6 or 7 and they don't want to spend their trip reading. It's often tempting to try to cram as much into a leaflet as possible, but it's a mistake. Fewer words, backed up by great illustrations and activities to do can have a much greater impact.
I'm putting together an evaluation sheet for the teachers; if we all like the materials, there will be more for other places, of both the leaflets and the Barnaby Books.
Where do you think we should do next?

Friday, 5 October 2012

More fame for Barnaby Bear!

As a bit of light relief from some of the more heavy duty tasks on my desk, I have been turning the pictures we took of Barnaby Bear on Kidney Island into a story book and accompanying teachers' notes. I am very lucky to have a tame graphic designer living in the same house, who is giving me a very good rate.
 I used to do this sort of thing for a living so it feels reassuringly familiar after exploring some of the wilder reaches of protected areas systems planning. The activities are loosely based on the current Y2  science curriculum, and the text is layered, from about level 2c to about 3a. In non- school -speak, that means it should have something for anyone up the the age of 8 or 9. It should also be suitable for multi- age schools, which are the norm in Camp Education.
The pack is just about ready to see the light of day; it will be printed locally and trialled in support of this year's visit to the island. If we like it, I'll get more copies printed for general use and sale at cost. The rights to Barnaby are owned by the Geographical Association and we are very grateful to them for permission to share Barnaby's travels with a wider audience