What an Experience! : Iver Nature Study Centre

From almost her first day, Sally knew she did not want the Iver Nature Study Centre (INSC) in Buckinghamshire to be ‘just’ an ordinary centre. She wanted it to be one where she could create activities which would inspire all visitors – young, old, able-bodied and those with special needs – to appreciate our natural world. This is the amazing story of how so many people, the majority out of curiosity, visited INSC before becoming one of a special band of volunteers during the eighteen years Sally was the manager. Each gave their time, expertise and professionalism to help provide visitors, young and old, with interesting, enjoyable, innovative, hands-on, fun and memorable activities, all of which were related to the environment. Working together, they would make sure the many visitors and users would enjoy learning from the variety of environmental activities, adapting these to suit participants’ needs. No one was turned away. Laughter was the wonderful sound echoing throughout the INSC site. It was most frequently heard from children having their first encounter with a real bat, or learning apples grow on trees and potatoes in soil but not in supermarket displays, discovering the fun, educational side of space exploration, stroking snakes and being amazed by the length of a blue whale when standing alongside a life-sized jigsaw which they put together in their car park. Adults visiting out of curiosity, attending an open day, learning a new skill, doing a bit of gardening or just enjoying a stroll around the garden, often followed by afternoon tea on the patio, always included laughter in the mix. The Iver Nature Study Centre really did offer something for everyone. Be prepared. This story of life at INSC is a unique experience!