There is a new species at Butlin’s Holiday resorts instantly recognisable by their green jackets and green Converse. They are the GREEN COATS, specially trained by the local Wildlife Trusts to encourage trippers to get out and explore the coast line. They are all also red coats so have been picked for their people skills, their ability to quickly establish a rapport with the guests so can whip up enthusiasm for the new scheme.
Developed by Butlins in response to the Natural Childhood Report published by the National Trust which identified a new condition among children – ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ where children just don’t know how to enjoy the outdoors anymore. The Greencoat Guides with their local Wildlife Trusts have devised activities to encourage children and their families to explore the beach to find sea creatures and birds and natural attractions. And with all three Butlin’s resorts next to prime English beaches they provide a great opportunity for off site exploration. So head down to the beach with your bucket and see what you can find your Greencoat Guide will be on hand to help you identify it.
So if you are in the vicinity of Skegness, Minehead or Bognor Regis head down to the beach and look out for groups of parents and children led by Greencoat Guides getting the most from the natural environment and doing a bit of informal learning at the same time whilst having a lot of fun. If you fancy doing the same there is a guide downloadable from the Butlins website which has numerous questions for your children to find examples of in their travels and to help them recognise and appreciate the wildlife around them. The guide is packed full of photographs and there is space on the front for your child to add their name. A useful resource for any parent and great for show and tell at the end of their holidays. You don’t have to be a Butlin guest to get a copy.
Butlins aren’t the only holiday company to offer this type of service, many of Haven holiday sites are in areas of Special Scientific Interest and 15 of their parks are within or adjoining nature reserves. They have worked with the park rangers to offer activities to help expand their guests knowledge of the world around them and every one of their 35 parks has some level of David Bellamy Conservation award, 33 have the highest gold award.
If you want more information then why not consider joining your local wildlife trust there are 47 across the county and they have junior branches called Wildlife Watch. Wherever you live they put on walks and talks about wildlife in your area and are great for the whole family to participate in.