WEA students on visit to Risley Moss

December 16, 2014

in Nature, health and well being, Other organisations, Wildlife, Working with Schools/Colleges

Workers’ Educational Association Students on an Ecology course

I had the pleasure of introducing this knowledgeable and keen bird watchers group to the delights of the wider environment in which we, birds and other wildlife find ourselves and how each has its place in the web of life. The group have been together for many years and several of them have volunteered to undertake different tasks to make their learning experiences more pleasurable and memorable. They now have a  Team Tuesday. web site.  Clive G was the scribe and author, John H the photographer, Barbara P the recorder and Maggie H the information hub! Thanks guys it was nice working with you for the term. This is one example of a visit to Risley Moss.


Risley Moss


Risley Moss Nature Reserve 25.11.14

Bright at first, overcast later, cold after one of the first frosts

Gathering in the Visitor Centre Team Tuesday was welcomed by the two site wardens, Mark and Gaynor, who gave a brief overview of the history and development of the reserve and ran through the great variety of wildlife to be found on this remarkable SSSI, from adder to water vole.

The promise of getting onto the actual mossland areas for the first time meant that, to the surprise of a certain gentleman, there was no dallying by the Team in the Woodland hide and we were soon venturing onto the paths which threaded across the extensive wetland area.

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The going was a bit tough in places, but it was fascinating to see the slow changes taking place in this unique environment and have the regeneration work being undertaken by the wardens and their volunteers explained to us. Most striking perhaps was the difference in water levels from one part of the moss to the other, almost impossible to gauge from the Tower, but so obvious when you are there on the ground, so to speak. 

Although we were aware of the presence of birds, sightings, as we walked along the pathways, were few, save for a solitary snipe that rose noisily from the shelter of the vegetation and, later, of a wren hurrying into cover. In the distance there were glimpses of a buzzard and, possibly, a sparrowhawk flying eastward in its seemingly unhurried ‘flap, flap, glide’ sequence of wing beats. Nearer at hand, corvids and woodpigeons were in evidence, but on this day such paucity didn’t seem to matter, and the Team returned towards the Visitor Centre after a couple of hours, not in the least unhappy with what had been a unique experience, although grateful to be on a firmer track free of those brambles!

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A brief survey of the feeders from the warmth of the Visitor Centre increased the count of species dramatically, before one and all expressed thanks to our two guides, and to George, of course, on whose initiative the whole adventure had been planned. CG

This poster is for them to remember, that as bird watchers, many birds rely on berries which themselves rely on pollination by bees!! My thanks to Mark and Gaynor for their informative tour.


Bees, birds and berries Nurturing Nature Ltd


The Workers’ Educational Association (WEA)

The above course was organised by the North West region. which itself is part of the National WEA. Come along perhaps there is a course for you!

The WEA was founded in 1903. It is a charity and the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education. In 2013/14 we delivered 9,700 part-time courses for over 70,000 students in England and Scotland with classes in almost every local authority area and our work in England was assessed in 2014 as ‘Good’ by Ofsted.

With the support of nearly 400 local branches, 3,000 volunteers, 2,000 part-time tutors, of which I am one!, and our active membership, the WEA provides high quality, student-centred and tutor-led education for adults from all walks of life. We bring education into the heart of communities, helping people learn whatever they want – from maths, English and skills for employment, through health and wellbeing courses, to cultural studies that help students broaden their horizons and community engagement programmes that encourages active citizenship.

We believe learning is for everyone and learning is for life. It helps people feel that anything is possible. It can be life-enhancing and life-changing – improving health, self-confidence and creating positive changes that ripple out from individuals to communities.

We also have a special mission to reach those who want to improve their lives and communities. Education is a beautiful and powerful tool for tackling economic and social disadvantage because it raises aspirations and helps people create their own change. We campaign for adult education and whether you want to become a student, member, volunteer, tutor or partner, you are always welcome to the WEA.

So learn the WEA way – friendly, accessible education on your doorstep. You do not need any previous knowledge or qualifications to join most of our courses, only a willingness to share with others your curiosity, ideas and experience.


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