Badger with a story – In the Oeverlanden

In the summer of 2022, a unique find was observed in the Oeverlanden. At the edge of the driveway they found an European badger (Meles Meles). The badger was already dead and most likely hit by a car. Badgers have never before been observed in the Oeverlanden, which makes the discovery of the badger very special.

Female badger

After observation it turns out to be a female who had completely eaten herself with blackberries. The female badger was quite young: 2 to 3 years old. According to sources, badgers live to be around 15 to 16 years old in the wild, but the average age is around 5 years because the species is regularly hit by cars.

Source: De Oeverlanden Blijven!

How does the badger live?

The badger belongs to the mustelid family and is one of the largest land predators in the Netherlands. It is a nocturnal animal that leaves the burrow (gait system with several tunnels) at sunset and goes in search of food. They eat almost anything, but mainly search among the grass for worms, forest fruits, tubers, mushrooms and much more. The eyes of the badger are adapted to the dark, because they see minimally in daylight. The eyes are small, and it mainly uses its nose and ears for looking for food and guarding its territory.

The largest population of badgers lives in the Veluwe, North Brabant and South Limburg. There are around 12,000 badgers in the Netherlands. In 2022, 40 badgers were observed in North Holland with the help of

In the field study center

The association “De Oeverlanden Blijven!”, with which Natuurkampen cooperates, was interested in having the tie put on. The female badger is used for nature and environmental education at the field study center de Oeverlanden. The badger is now prepared in the field study center and is the showpiece of the collection.

Source: De Oeverlanden Blijven!

(Benthic) Animal Day

Animals are important! They are part of a community of life. A meadow is an example of a community. The elderberry, grasshopper and frog are (in)directly dependent on each other within the area. A collection of different living communities is called an ecosystem. Like a forest and heathland.

Animals are an important part of our fieldwork programs. We study, determine and establish relationships between fauna (biotic) and abiotic factors in an area. Even the littlest ones are studied at Natuurkampen: benthic animals.

Zoekkaart Bodemdieren | webwinkel ARK

Source: ARK

Benthic animals can be found just above the ground and in the benthic zone (the layer below the ground where organisms still exist). They are important for keeping the soil healthy. Soil animals mixed the earth by moving in the soil and fed on dead plant and animal remains.

Benthic animal research is discussed during field work days. We discuss the different techniques for searching, catching and identifying benthic animals. Then the students do their own research. An investigation that took place earlier this year was: the biodiversity in benthic animals and the moisture of the soil. Very interesting!

The benthic animal days are currently taking place to introduce young and old to the benthic life! Activities and workshops are taking place throughout the Netherlands and you can download teaching materials online. You can also participate in the benthic animal count, where you note down the observed animals. This provides a better picture of the benthic animals present in NL. All information can be found on the website of the bodemdierendagen.

Free film festival for primary school and high school

From October the 4th to the 10th, the annual Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam (WFFR) will take place in the Cinerama, Rotterdam. The festival focuses in particular on nature and environmental education for students.

As a school you can participate for free in the educational program of the WFFR, both for BO and VO. Is Rotterdam a little too far away? As a teacher you can “watch” online with your class. When registering, the films can be seen for free, and you can download education materials on the platform.

A number of nature films that will be screened at the WFFR this year are Bee Wild, The Netherlands Underwater and The Wild Gardener. The festival is made possible by National Geographic, WWF and Natuurmonumenten, among others.

More information about the Wildlife Film Festival can be found here.

Bird watching, counting and sent

At the end of January we will again participate in the National Bird Count, organized by the Vogelbescherming, from Natuurkampen. The bird count is important to map the bird species and therefore better protect them. Will you join us?

The Bird Protection has developed a handy tool to determine together with the students in the class. With this counting form you can peat the common species and you will find images of the species for recognition. Download the bird count list here.

Podcast Luisteren (PodNL): De Vogelspotcast TIP: Would you like to gain more experience in identifying bird species? Then listen to the bird spot cast (free to listen to on Spotify), where bird watcher Arjan takes his childhood friend Gisbert, a beginner with no experience in bird watching, on a birding excursion. Highly recommended!

A Woolly Red List Species in the Schelphoek

It is a 16 cm mouse with a blunt head and brown fur. It is the oldest vole species in the Netherlands. It already inhabited our earth during the last ice age: it is the Arctic vole (Alexandromys oeconomus arenicola). Due to the closed delta works and the shifting of the polders and salt marshes, the animal in Schouwen has largely disappeared. The decrease in its habitat and the change in the water balance pose the greatest danger to this Red List species.

A new road has been built around our accommodation in the Schelphoek towards the Brouwersdam and 2 new roundabouts have been built. In this new landscape they have forgotten something important, the construction of a new nature reserve to compensate for the Arctic vole. In the Schelphoek live about ten Northern voles, and they are heavily protected. Van Burg, alderman of Schouwen, expects the compensation area to be ready by the end of next year.

Who knows, you might come across this beautiful animal in the Schelphoek nature reserve. That is quite special.

Sleeping Beauty

Did you know that some moths hibernate? Team Hei- en Boeicop encountered the herald (Scoliopteryx libatrix) during his winter sleep in the barn. The species seeks a dry place in early November where it stays until April-May. What is special about this species is that it hibernates with bats, which also hibernate in cellars and attics. The sedation is on the bat’s menu, yet they hibernate together in harmony.

The name of the herald has to do with the back of the wings. These look a bit like curtains ruffles, hence the name. The herald has completely adapted to the season, it feeds on the food that is available at that time. In the spring it drinks nectar from the willow catkins, in the summer overripe blackberry juice and in the autumn, it feeds on nectar from the ivy.

Other species that hibernate are the peacock eye (see photo above), the hackled aurelia and the little fox.