Encouraging young people to embrace the outdoors through wildlife inspired creativity at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve.

‘The Year’ was 12 months of workshops where we explored various stories at Fingringhoe Wick, including the singing Nightingales of Spring, the basking Adders of Summer, the boisterous badgers of Autumn and the visiting wading birds of Winter. This blog post covers all the amazing videos, animations, recordings and video games made at the reserve through ‘The Year’.

Our project with Essex Wildlife Trust encouraged young people to embrace and explore the natural heritage of the reserve through creativity. Ending with an exhibition showcasing some of our favourite stories from the reserve as well as the incredible work made by the young people involved, including: photography, filmmaking, wild writing and even an arcade machine of wildlife themed video games.

This project was made possible with funding from Heritage Lottery Fund and the Hervey Benham Charitable Trust.

Spring

Recce

We started the project with a visit to the reserve on a foggy Spring morning with some alumni from our BFI Film Academy project; exploring the reserve, learning the layout and planning our variety of forthcoming creative wildlife workshops.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Making Music with the Nightingales

We took CLIP, a young peoples experimental music ensemble, to Fingringhoe Wick for an improv jam with their noisy Nightingales.

With the Nightingales approaching the end of their breeding season, each evening the males bust into song as they attempt to attract the attention of the females.

Summer

Summer Wildlife Photography

We explored Fingringhoe Wick with acclaimed wildlife photographer Russell Savory, learning tips and tricks for capturing the perfect moment in the wild.

Summer Wildlife Filmmaking

Wildlife filmmaking day with BBC drone operator Sam Butcher, giving us the opportunity to see the reserve from a perspective only the birds usually get to see.

Summer Arts Explorers

In the summer a group of young people embarked to discover, explore and conserve the Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve. They Shared the experience through photography, filmmaking animation and wild writing. They all worked towards gaining a John Muir Award, the award scheme for people of all backgrounds – groups, families, individuals. It’s non-competitive, inclusive and accessible.

Summer Listening Walk

On Wednesday 18th July we celebrated World Listening Day by exploring Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve with our ears and microphones.

In the midst of a summer heat wave, we toured the reserve with Kirsty Groves, Education and Community Officer from Essex Wildlife Trust and discovered the aural impact the summer heat has had on the reserve.

Autumn

Autumn Game Jam

What happens when you combine video games and wildlife? We spent the morning exploring Essex Wildlife Trust Fingringhoe Wick and then took our ideas back to the studio to make wildlife inspired video games using Scratch.

Click here to play their games online.

Bats and Badgers

On Monday 8th October we toured Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve on the look out for Bats and Badgers. With the nights drawing in, we explored Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve under cover of darkness and to discover what comes out when the sun goes in – and importantly what noise it makes. For this is the second episode of our seasonal podcast from the nature reserve, we were joined for the evening by young peoples music ensemble CLIP who took the opportunity to have an outdoor jam session in the dark.

Creative Code Club – 360 Video

As part of our autumn Creative Code Club, we worked with artist Emily Godden to film the reserve in full 360º and then experimented with making VR games in co-spaces, an online 360/VR game development software.

Night Time Photography

A late night visit to the nature reserve saw a group of creative photographers experimenting with long exposure techniques and painting with light to create these beautiful abstract photos.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Winter

Video Game Masterclass

As we worked towards our final exhibition, over three days a selection of students worked on wildlife inspired video games to be installed on an arcade cabinet within the visitors centre.

Led by Aidan Randall from Teaboy Games, a local games development studio, the young people worked in software Construct3 to create 2D games based on the flora and fauna of Fingringhoe Wick; including salt and freshwater fish, badgers and the reserves famous adders.

Click here to play their games online.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wintering Waders

The winter may feel chilly to us, but for wading birds nesting in the Arctic, the British coast is positively balmy. In December we visited the reserve’s intertidal lagoon at high tide to film the wintering waders in situ with wildlife filmmaker Russell Savory and sound recordist Phil Mill.

Animation Masterclass

Young people made miniature sets and characters, and animated their own short film based on the changing seasons at the Fingringhoe wick. Using a range of artist materials such as card, paint and modelling clay, they created a short animated film with animation software, cameras and supported by a professional animator.

Exhibition Launch

The Year – Exhibition

Our project culminated in An interactive exhibition of young peoples wildlife inspired films, photos and video games made at Fingringhoe Wick with Signals.

The Year exhibition ran from Saturday 30th March to Monday 29th April at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve Visitors Centre.

‘The Year’ encouraged young people to embrace and explore the natural heritage of the reserve through creativity. This exhibition showcased some of our favourite stories from the reserve as well as the incredible work made by the young people involved, including: photography, filmmaking, wild writing and even an arcade machine of wildlife themed video games.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Want to hear more about our workshops and activities?