School visit and beavers.

Students led by their teacher return to school after crossing the Humber.

Students led by their teacher return to school after crossing the Humber.

Students from a local school were out today cycling through the park. A great way to introduce kids to the park system as many would be unaware of it without a school visit. The first portent of the students’ impending arrival was a group of about half a dozen supervisors decked out in yellow and orange safety jackets walking towards the bridge. The students then came by complete with bikes and helmets – a teacher at the front to lead and one at the rear to hurry along the slow ones.

Seeing the number of supervisors, I understand why so few trips end up in the park. Nowadays, safety trumps everything and nothing can be left to chance. The logistics of obtaining parental permission, organizing and paying for supervision would sadly mean that this is a very special and rare occasion.

On another topic, beavers have come and gone in the park in recent years. It’s hard for them to find a suitable and private enough location away from off-leash dogs and other menaces. Happily, today a beaver was bringing food to its lodge in the park so a family must have taken up residence.

A beaver swims upstream with food.

A beaver swims towards its lodge carrying food in the form of leaves and twigs.

It’s not a very detailed photograph as at that distance the Sony’s 3.6x zoom doesn’t go far. No doubt the kits will be emerging in the next few weeks and will live with their parents for almost two years. Beavers mate for life after their third year and only breed once a year. By the early 20th Century, these animals had been trapped, poisoned and shot to near extinction here in North America but have recovered somewhat to about 5% of where they were before European settlement.

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