I get many prompts for my blog from Twitter. Earlier today there were kids’ wildlife drawings posted (or tweeted, whatever is the correct terminology). When I was wildlife crime officer with Tayside police I ran a wildlife crime project with primary schools, normally P5 to P7. Between 1000 and 2000 pupils took part, their project was over the course of a year and was in four parts. To assist with the projects and with funding from PAW Scotland, I prepared an hour long CD covering many aspects of wildlife crime. Normally the projects were:
- Keep a spring (or autumn) wildlife diary over the course of a week
- Imagine you are a police wildlife crime officer. Write about a wildlife crime investigation you have carried out.
- Draw in colour an animal, bird, plant or insect found in the wild (This sometimes alternated with drawing a poster on a particular subject, eg taking wild birds’ eggs, the plight of the Scottish wildcat or poisoning of birds of prey.)
- Complete, with help at home, a wildlife law quiz.
The last project ensured that the pupils took some of their knowledge home and in many cases passed it on to parents.
Pupils and teachers were enthusiastic about the project, sponsorship of up to £1,500 was usually obtained for prizes, and they were presented at an award ceremony hosted by Scottish Natural Heritage. The chief constable, deputy or assistant chief, provost or sometimes even the Environment Minister presented the prizes, demonstrating the interest taken at that level.
I was always amazed at the quality of the work produced, especially for young folks between 9 and 11 years old. Some of the drawings are shown and they are a hundred times better than I could do. The project ran for 14 years, with the last award ceremony on 6 June, 2011, the day before I retired from Tayside Police.