What temperature does it have to be…?
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What temperature does it have to be to defeat a TBH Warden? Answer: There is no temperature that will defeat a warden!
It’s been a period of extremes and firsts for me. First time holding a Willow Warbler in my hand (amazing), first time experiencing an Adder hissing at me (thrilling), and first time running a treasure hunt for children on a heath, and in soaring temperatures (challenging!).
On our opening day of Heath Week 2018 we had torrential downpours, much to the frustration of all the team, who were eagerly anticipating our first major public event. And on the final weekend, we experienced a heatwave. When the heavens opened on the first day, it was hardly a surprise; dark clouds had been gathering the day before above Ceasar’s Camp (my warden post that day), and I’d felt excited at the anticipation of rain at last. But the joy was bitter sweet because I knew that our first Heath Week event – craft activities for children at Lightwater – was imminent and we were going to need dry weather to attract visitors because we were outdoors (albeit under a gazebo). Nevertheless on the day a couple of brave families turned up, and the children (all five of them) had the attention of not one, but three (dripping wet) wardens, myself included.
The end of the week turned out to be a scorcher. The treasure hunt I’d organised with my colleague, Ruth, proved very popular. Over thirty children (plus guardians) turned up over the course of three hours. To begin with we were overwhelmed. But by the time the temperature hit about 30 degrees, we hit our stride (I think) and with the aid of adrenaline and the help our manager, who kindly stepped in at the last minute, we managed to get all the children round the treasure hunt and back to the starting point in the midday heat with no tears or tantrums, just beaming faces and happy parents. Result!
On another ‘normal’ working day, I was given the opportunity to get up close to a Willow Warbler, courtesy of RSPB bird ringers on one of our Hampshire heaths. Amazing to think that this tiny bird – weighing not much more than a 10p piece – had flown here all the way from the Sahara desert. As I held it in my hand, it didn’t move a muscle in protest. It was a beautiful and humbling experience.
The Adder, on the other hand, protested very loudly. It was coiled on a grass verge, and as I was about to step on it (accidentally of course) it gave me a very firm warning in the form of a loud hiss. I was incredibly grateful indeed for that hiss. Who knows which doctor’s surgery I may have ended up in, had it not been so vocal!