Grown-ups and children alike are in for a treat over the upcoming summer holidays as the RSPB will once again be urging nature lovers to spend a night under the stars for its annual Big Wild Sleepout on 29th – 31st July. I am excited as we will be taking part at Camp Bestival and have signed up to sleep under the stars with our friends from Fore Adventure.
The charity is challenging children and their families across the UK to go on a mini-adventure, get wild and discover what goes bump in the night with the amazing nocturnal wildlife on their doorstep.
For the fourth year running, happy campers across the country will be encouraged to sleep out in their own gardens or outdoor spaces to get close to nature and discover which creatures they share their homes with. The RSPB has sent Isaac some pocket books and equipment to help him identify what he finds, plus the RSPB Stargazer Telescope and the How to Read the Solar System Book so he can identify the stars in the night sky. Isaac has also built his own bug garden, complete with a sunken bowl filled with water in the hope that some frogs move in and loves finding what animal has moved in every day.
The event takes place over the last weekend in July, and with the late sunsets and early sunrises in store, there will be plenty of fun-filled hours for people of all ages to set up camp and spend a memorable night in nature.
Whether it be glamping in tents or caravans, getting back to basics in dens and shelters or even roughing it under open skies and a blanket of stars, there will be Sleepout styles to cater for all levels and ages.
Thousands will be having Sleepouts in their gardens and back yards in addition to organised events taking place at RSPB nature reserves across the country, and partner sites for those that would prefer a guided experience teeming with wildlife. So far in our garden we have a family of nesting Great Tits, squirrels and lots of various creepy crawlies which Isaac loves to catch and look at in his mini-beast viewer. We have also spotted some bats flying around outside the house at dusk but have yet to have a clear night for some stargazing.
Evening activities will vary for each event, but a few will include stargazing, bushcraft, fireside cooking and fun with stories round the campfire.
Some of the more extraordinary Sleepouts in the pipeline include stepping back in time and camping out in a museum, sleeping out under a wind turbine and seeing shooting stars, globular clusters and the international space station with a variety of telescopes, an indoor planetarium and a meteor roadshow!
In addition to spending a night in nature’s home and getting to know the night-time wildlife around them, those taking part can choose to donate money to help the RSPB give nature a home. The Big Wild Sleepout is part of the RSPB’s ‘Giving Nature a Home’ campaign, which is aimed at inspiring everyone to do their bit for nature, wherever they live and however big their outside space.
James Harding-Morris, Big Wild Sleepout organiser said: “Thousands of people across the UK will be going on a mini adventure and getting closer to wildlife in our fourth Big Wild Sleepout event. Our main aim is to get children and grown-ups connected to nature to help preserve it for future generations and what better way to do this than spending a night under the stars and getting to know the amazing animals around us that thrive in the dark.
Nature is in trouble and by taking part in Sleepout and sharing your experiences with the RSPB, we’re getting a deeper understanding of the wildlife around us, as well as helping to give nature a home.”
Rohan, designer and supplier of outdoor clothing and footwear, has leant its support to Big Wild Sleepout for the second year running.Roger Cann, Managing Director for Rohan, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in this year’s Big Wild Sleepout again as getting people outdoors, discovering local wildlife and having fun whilst doing so is something Rohan supports. Whether it’s wrapping up warm with base layers or waterproofs to keep the rain out, the RSPB’s novice or experienced naturalists can kit themselves out for a night in the wild, whatever the weather.”
Sign up for a Big Wild Sleepout pack and register to take part at www.rspb.org.uk/sleepout. Participants will be invited to let the RSPB know once they’ve taken part and to share their experiences on the website and on social media using #BigWildSleepout.