Platt Bridge Primary School, Hindley
We booked Russ to work with our Reception classes, as part of our topic on Growth. The children were completely engaged from the moment they met Russ, and thoroughly enjoyed their woodland walk and nature talk. Russ's knowledge is second to none, and he shares it with the children in a friendly, informal way that they can understand. It provided an excellent starting point for future discussions in class and our classwork on lifecycles, growth and change. I would highly recommend a nature walk and talk - Russ is well organised and tailors sessions to suit our needs!
Kathy - Standedge Tunnel Volunteer
Canal and Rivers Trust Volunteer
What a lovely day for a nature walk, the last of the wild flowers were out, the butterflies and bees were out and down by the river we even saw a Kingfisher. Russ's communication and motivational skills were second to none, very relaxed and very attentive to detail, who knew slugs were so interesting! I found his suggestions of how to present a nature trail very informative, the food chain and how species evolve. The pond dipping, again a natural food chain, was well presented, gave me thought for future sessions. We took a walk through the woods which threw up a whole different scenario including many rare and even an invasive species of plant (Himalayan Balsam) which was
something I didn't know. I look forward to sharing this experience on school visits. All in all a very enlightening day which I wouldn't have missed for the world.
Brookside Primary School - Clitheroe
Our topic of Homes and Habitats in the Autumn term is particularly difficult to arrange trips and visits for. After stumbling on this website and the workshops available, I decided to take a risk and book something different and new- and I am so glad that I did!
The whole morning was well planned and resourced. Alternative arrangements were made in case of weather and Russ was in frequent contact to confirm details. Due to being located in Clitheroe, it seemed appropriate to walk in our local area. Even though the children had walked in Salthill Quarry prior to the workshop with parents and school, they had never looked at it in the same way as they did on the walk with Russ.
He was full of knowledge about all aspects of wildlife and was able to answer all the questions posed to him by the children (and there were plenty!) He made fantastic links with our school before we even left the school grounds. The children had a fantastic morning as did all the adults accompanying us on the trip saying that it was one of the most educational walks that they had been on. Russ was certainly full of knowledge and communicated with all the children fantastically.
We can’t wait to have Russ come to our school again and do another walk with him!
Geoff Gwyther, Chairman
Bolton University of the 3rd Age
Russ came to talk to us at our monthly members meeting of the Bolton U3A in August 2013 on the topic of " The Wonders of Bolton's Wildlife". All our members are retired or semi-retired but are still very active in the community in Adult Education and their need for knowledge and to continue to learn. So his audience was perhaps a bit different to his usual listeners. But we were captivated from the moment he started until he finished. From the title you will see the word "wonders" appears and this is what he brought to our notice during his well illustrated talk. It was a vibrant, knowledgeable, interesting and professional presentation given by a speaker who was obviously enthusiastic about his topic. It made us feel as though we wanted to know more about the nature and wildlife surrounding our town and also the need to go and look and find the things he was talking about. After the talk he welcomed a Q&A session which again was answered with great skill and knowledge. On behalf of Bolton U3A many thanks Russ and we hope to see you again.
Lucy and Linda
St Philip’s CE Primary School - Atherton
When organising ‘Earthas Special Day’, an environmental day at St Philip’s CE Primary School, in Atherton, we wanted the children to undertake a range of interactive, exciting learning experiences. Once we had read online about the workshops that Russ offered, we crossed our fingers that he would be available on that date! Thankfully, he was and quite simply the sessions were superb! Each class in KS2 had the opportunity to extend their learning about ‘Wildlife in your Garden’. An on site visit and excellent communication between Russ and school , prior to the day, meant that planning was thorough and the risk assessment was in depth and accurate. His knowledge is vast, his enthusiasm is infectious and his relationship with children and adults alike is excellent. Many thanks, Russ, on your contribution to a highly successful day!
In spring Russell Hedley sent me an email through our website volunteering to lead our walking group Lancashire Dotcom Walkers on a nature walk. Not quite knowing what to expect I set up a meeting in order to reconnoitre a suitable route. I decided on the reservoirs close to Entwistle which had the merit of being mutually convenient and was an area with which I was familiar. At least I thought I was until I walked it with Russell.
Too often I step outdoors to “do” a walk – that is follow a route with only a minimal engagement with what I see and hear. Russell takes a different approach. For him a walk is an opportunity to become immersed in the environment; to stop and stare; to pause and investigate more closely; to wait and see what might come into view. So that walk I did with Russell came as a revelation – allowing me to see and listen to the natural world in a way I hadn’t since I was a child. In the space of a few hours I learned to identify the calls of a dozen species of birds, to appreciate how different habitats attract different species and to closely observe mammal and birds in their natural environment.
Russell was equally illuminating when the walking group convened a few weeks later at Batridge Barn car park, Entwistle. He led a group of 18 giving us a fascinating outing as we completed a circuit of the reservoirs. His knowledge and skill as a communicator impressed all who were out that day.
I have no hesitation in commending Russell to any group wishing to go for a walk with a difference. He is passionate about his subject and has a gift for communication.
Sara, Ian and Year 5 at Dallas Road Primary School
Dallas Road Primary School - Lancaster
Firstly we would both like to thank you for allowing us the opportunity to go on the trip. The children loved every minute of it (as did the adults) and it has really put all our topic work into context. Many of the children had not ventured as far down the canal as we did on the trip and most had never been on a canal boat before. And Russ who came to chat about the wildlife was BRILLIANT!!! We were originally going to make some worksheets for the children to complete whilst on the boat, but his nature talks were perfectly timed and appropriate to the children's interest, abilities and our topic content - he was very good.
The trip enabled the children to put their learning into context, consolidate the work we had completed and Russ' talk helped to challenge and further their understanding. As a result of this trip we will be completing diary entries from the perspective of someone who lives in a canal boat and we have nearly finished our persuasive leaflets encouraging parents to visit and respect the canal. The experience has also sparked some water-themed music compositions and abstract artwork!!!
In conclusion we feel that the trip has been a unique and highly valuable experience for the children and thank you all very much for allowing us the opportunity. There is nothing better than visiting places from first hand and talking to the experts in the field!!!
The children have worked together to write the attached letter of thanks from the whole of Year 5. It is written in their own words!!!!
Many thanks again for your support during our topic.
Wingates Residential Home - Bolton
Thank you for sharing your passion on nature and wildlife with our residents at Wingates Residential Home. The sessions we’ve had to date have been interesting and have led to some residents engaging in discussions about birds and insects. It is good to hear residents reminiscing on where they’ve seen different fauna and wildlife on their holidays.
The sessions on growing plants and using modelling clay to make birds were fun. “Spring has sprung at Wingates”, most of the seeds the residents have planted have shoots emerging.
The residents are really looking forward to the next session when the “wildlife” on our doorstep will be pointed out and identified.
I find Russ to be very enthusiastic and he works well with all the residents. He provides person centred creativity and I would have no hesitation in recommending him to any home where residents need mental stimulation.
Nila Fernando PA/Manager
Wingates Residential Home
Canal and River Trust
Russ has worked with us for 12 months on various projects and has delivered some absolutely brilliant sessions with local schoolchildren. His knowledge of the countryside and wildlife is first class and he gets the children he works with to really participate, making the sessions fun and very stimulating learning experiences.
Liz Quispe, Community Landscape Architect, Helena Homes Green Space Service
Helena Homes Green Space Service
Talks and Walks held a wildlife summer watch session at our Green Base Community Facility. The session was attended by our gardening club which consists of primary aged children. The session was superb and held the children’s attention, they really enjoyed learning about wildlife and they loved the practical sessions. Russ took them on a bug hunt and used our grounds as an outdoor classroom. Being outside and seeing real examples helped the children to learn and sparked their interest and curiosity. Russ’s enthusiasm and knowledge about wildlife inspired the children who thoroughly enjoyed the whole session. For me that was the most impressive thing, Russ wasn’t phased by anything and his enthusiasm and optimism were transmitted through his workshop to all who attended.
Russ came to the Green Base to run a ‘Wildlife Summer Watch’ activity designed for both adults and children. He put a lot of work into developing the sessions so that it was not only interesting and informative but relevant to the intended customers and their area. As it turned out the session was attended by children from the ages of 6-10 who are members of our Summer Gardening Club. Russ was, at the last minute it has to be said, able to tailor the activity in such a way that made it easy for the young people to understand, his enthusiasm was infectious and as a result he had the children enthralled from start to finish. They really enjoyed the practical sessions and they also took what they made from the activity home which we know they are still using. His knowledge of wildlife was fantastic and I would defy anyone not to learn something from any of his Talks & Walks. Russ is a consummate professional and I look forward to having him return to the Green Base in the future to run another session.
Just to let you know that the day trip to Smardale Gill was very enjoyable thanks mainly to the leadership of Russ Hedley. We have always been impressed with the Naturetrek leaders but Russ was exceptional - such a wide range of knowledge about all things nature and a relaxed way of imparting it.
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