23 January 2015

Penguins

"It's a penguin! Keith, look there's a penguin on the post over there!"
I don't remember this being shouted along the beach at Whitby (I was in a pushchair at the time) but I am reliably informed this is what my Mum excitedly relayed to my Dad on one of our first trips to the beach, probably some time early November.  Dad said it was in fact a guillemot, a bird Mum still enjoys watching but no longer gets confused over, no penguins here (although we do have a polar bear - sort of).  Mum will be the first to admit her early years in an industrial mill town were not spent learning bird or flower identification; however, she has since spent several years and very many happy hours pouring over the books and filling in the gaps in her knowledge.

By DickDaniels (http://carolinabirds.org/) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
By DickDaniels (http://carolinabirds.org/) (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

So why am I talking about penguins?  And no it's not because we've been shivering under an icy blast.  Or because Tuesday was penguin awareness day - yes, it's real and it even has a website; but because the Telegraph ran a story, possibly coincidentally on Tuesday, about people reporting lost penguins in Scarborough (they were of course guillemots and razorbills) we tweeted it out as bit of light relief and it became our top tweet for the week!  Most people had a chuckle and a wry smile, however, some comments were a little less than kind, not everyone has the advantage that we have had of spending time (and effort) learning to identify natural history, some because they have no interest, others because they simply don't have the opportunity.  The latter often devour the information when it's available: through TV programmes such as BBC's Winterwatch (on now) and articles online and in newspapers; the former group are much harder to reach. The Environmental Education and Outreach programmes of our many wonderful organisations do their best to help both groups, by providing opportunities, opening eyes, supplying information and guidance.  If you'd like to join their ranks and help people, like my Mum, learn the difference between guillemots and razorbills, never mind penguins, read last year's Focus on Environmental Education, the adverts may be a little out of date but the articles are just as relevant today as when we first published them in May 2014.
And this week's edition of CJS Weekly has quite a few educator posts in amongst the 93 adverts across 23 pages.  This week also has the Training Calendar of events happening in March