Living Land 2024

Fliss Winters

BASC’s Fliss Winters and Rachel Swansborough report on a rewarding day of fun and learning for 3,000 schoolchildren in Kent.

May was a busy month for the BASC South East team, with a significant proportion of our time spent engaging with young people. Among various events, such as Countryside Learning at Farleigh Wallop and Young Shots at Lains Shooting School, it was Living Land took centre stage at the Kent Event Centre in Detling.

Celebrating its 20th year in 2024, 57,000 children have attended Living Land since its inception. This year’s event saw nearly 3,000 children from schools across Kent experience a day of fun and learning centred around food, farming and the countryside. Aimed at students in years 3 and 4 (7-9 years old), the events spreads its message through interactive zones: the Animal Zone, the Touch & Taste Zone and the Discovery & Machinery Zone.

BASC bird boxes

Learning from the best

It was a privilege for BASC to attend Living Land 2024 alongside award-winning gamekeeper Adam Horn from Godmersham Park, Kent. In collaboration with Adam, some 50 bird boxes were made and given to the children to put up at their schools. 

The boxes serve a dual purpose as they offer a habitat for local birds and can be used as an educational tool for students. By learning how to set up and maintain these boxes, children gain an insight into the lives of different bird species and the importance of conservation efforts to protect them.

We offered other practical resources, such as taking wildflower seeds home to plant, plus the chance to get hands-on with deer pelts and antlers. This opened the door to talk about the different species of deer that live in the UK, how they came to be in this country and the reasons why deer management is such an important component of conservation.

The students learned about the impact of unmanaged populations, the consequences of littering, how deer impact farming and road safety and ultimately, how they provide an excellent, healthy source of food.

Speaking about the event, Adam said: “I’ve been a keeper for 23 years and I’ve attended a number of small school trips at Godmersham Park over the years, but Living Land is on another scale. Sixty schools and nearly 3,000 Kent schoolchildren – what a great way of speaking to so many in one day.

“This is my second year of helping the BASC team run their stand; this year, having wildflower seeds for all the kids and amazing nest boxes for each school, it felt like we had a really productive interaction with so many of them. Some children are already very knowledgeable about shooting and the positive effects it has on the environment. I was taken aback by one child who could name the difference species of deer on our board! Apparently his grandfather shoots, which shows how important it is to take a bit of time to pass on our knowledge to the younger generation.”

Get more news from BASC’s South East team here.