Over the holidays we stayed at a couple of farms – family-friendly ones. I wondered if we could make it apply to a Brownie badge, as my daughter loved learning about the animals and what they ate.
In the end I decided that the Friend to Animals badge would be a good match. We checked through the clauses and decided that the closest fit for this would be the section which applies to animals in Zoos, Animal Sanctuaries and Wildlife Reserves.
Here’s how it works.
*Visit your nearest zoo, animal sanctuary or wildlife reserve. Find out about some of the animals that live there, including at least one you hadn’t heard of before. Make a scrapbook about your visit.
This was easy. When we stayed at Coombe Mill we learned about all the animals on the farm every day. While some animals were bred for their meat, others weren’t. We found out which foods they liked to eat and what their purpose was on the farm.
When we stayed at Woodspring Farm (which is a vegetarian farm) we also learned about the animals there, so my daughter had information about both types of farming.
Coombe Mill has alpacas, so she learned lots of facts about them as she was convinced it was a llama – so learned a lot about an animal she hadn’t heard of before.
*Look at the different colours and patterns of animals. Explain why animals need camouflage. Use some of the patterns you see in a piece of art, for example a face mask.
This was fun. We looked at the patterns on the deer at Coombe Mill. She created a piece of art using different things to create the spots – pastels, crayon, chalk and lemon juice. After that she painted over everything in a light brown watercolour to see what the spots would look like.
When we were at Coombe Mill the deer were often quite hard to spot because of their camouflage, so this was a good one to do. The results are interesting too! She has wanted to make spy messages on a piece of paper for a while now so this has given her more ideas.
*Describe how life is different for animals that live in the wild to those that live in captivity.
The deer covered this area. They are wild deer within a large enclosed area. We learned lots of facts about them and also that you shouldn’t get too close as they might have ticks! She then compared how they live to other animals around the farm. Some of the deer at Coombe Mill came from Crystal Palace City Farm when it closed down.
*Find out how some zoos’ conservation work helps to protect endangered animals. Get details of the adoption schemes that are run by some zoos and sanctuaries.
This one was quite easy for us. Back when my daughter was a baby she sponsored a duck at the London WWT centre. So we went back over what sponsoring an animal does – as there are some breeds of ducks that are endangered. Ducks come from a Duckery which made us laugh! This was easy to find details on, and my daughter knows why such schemes now exist.
So I reckon that’s her Friend to Animals badge sorted when we get back! She also earned her Advanced Swimmer and Booklover over the holidays, and is working on her Sports badge. Phew!