Philippa Forrester’s wildlife challenge

Philippa Forrester Go on, take a splash, says Philippa Forrester

This challenge is about discovering the wonderful world of water, be that in your garden, your local green space or down at the beach.

There are not that many truly wild places to explore any more but our coastline, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds are home to a vast array of species that are just waiting to be discovered.

Go pond dipping

Grab a few things from that you hopefully have at home:

  • A bucket or plastic container
  • A net
  • Notebook and pencil to write down what you find
  • A magnifying glass
  • A camera

Make a spotting sheet.

Before you start, please remember:

  • Extra care should be taken near water and children should be supervised at all times
  • To prevent animals overheating try to keep buckets out of the sun

Fill your bucket with pond water, scoop the net in the pond and empty the contents into the bucket. Get a closer look using the magnifying glass.

Photograph what you find - here are some wildlife photography tips for beginners to help you - and share them on the BBC Summer of Wildlife Flickr group.

Download your own copy of the Summer of Wildlife Handbook

PDF download Summer of Wildlife Handbook [pdf][15.9MB]

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If you can't identify anything, someone in the group might be able to help or you can use iSpot, a fantastic online resource that can help you identify the wildlife you've seen.

Record what you see on your spotting sheet but did you know your findings are really valuable in understanding the state of UK nature? Learn how to be a citizen scientist and make sure you add your results to the OPAL water survey or Pond Conservation's Big Pond Dip survey to help scientists with your valuable findings.

Go rockpooling

Start Quote

This challenge is close to my heart and something that I feel everyone can enjoy together.”

End Quote Philippa Forrester, presenter of Britian's Big Wildlife Revival

Make the most of a day at the beach by rock pooling and be sure to check the tide times before you go.

Check out our "Seaside Spectacular" video collection for inspiration and information about what you might see.

  • Rocks can be sharp so waterproof shoes are useful
  • Take a net and a bucket
  • Record what you find, take photos of anything you can't identify and share on the BBC Summer of Wildlife Flickr group or iSpot, to see if anyone can help
  • Don't prod animals and avoid crushing any by making sure you put back stones safely if you've moved them
  • Make sure you put back what you take out exactly where you found it
Make a mini pond
  • Place some clean gravel and stones into something shallow and watertight (e.g. an old washing up bowl)
  • Add in a few rocks to help animals that have fallen in to escape
  • Fill with rainwater and add a couple of plants that thrive in water
  • Put the container somewhere with a bit of shade and wait to see which animals visit

Finally, be sure to share any photographs you take on the BBC Summer of Wildlife Flickr group. As part of our See it, Snap it, Share it challenge, we're hoping to reach 100,000 photographs that document the state of our UK wildlife in the summer of 2013.

All summer we'll be hosting an online conversation around the Summer of Wildlife. Follow BBC Nature on Facebook and Twitter @BBCNature. Join in and share your own Summer of Wildlife experiences and get the latest news and updates about the wildlife near you.

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