21 Jan 2020

ARC's Snakes in the Heather Public Engagement and Education Officer, Owain shares how the projects education, training and events have gone digital!

Ok… we are wildlife lovers, and outdoorsy people, so our changing worlds have taken some getting used to. Our plan prior to the interruption of a global pandemic was to tell the story of why reptiles are such interesting animals – in packed classrooms, lecture theatres, community halls and from the ARC event stand. We would also have showcased the unique biodiversity of our heathlands from local wildlife reserves.

Like many conservation organisations, we have evolved to deliver our messages in new and innovative ways. Branching out into the digital world to interact with people through videos, blogs, and online events, has allowed us to interact with audiences far outside of the range of the smooth snake in southern England, where the Snakes in the Heather project is focussed.

During the wait for a time in which we can see people in reality we will use the power of video call to engage with hundreds of school children, we will create educational resources for teaching staff and parents alike to support home learning, we will talk with higher education students about the skills they will need to support conservation in the future and we will deliver online training for both partner organisation staff and our army of survey volunteers who will be looking for the elusive smooth snake during the nearing spring and summer.

Within the challenges we face, we never lose sight of the importance of biodiversity – for the countless services it provides, for its intrinsic value and beauty, and for the gift of the ever-charming smooth snake.

We update our project page regularly so please visit the Snakes in the Heather page to hear about progress and up-to-date plans. In the meantime, if you have any general questions about the project email [email protected], or if you would like to book a digital outreach session email [email protected].

Snakes in the Heather is supported by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

ARC also thanks the Banister Charitable Trust and Love the Forest for generous donations to the Snakes in the Heather project.