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Buried treasure... are you ready for a half-term Treasure Hunt?

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

This half-term we’re hunting for treasure … it has been buried underground since last April and now it’s time to go and find it! The treasure map of adventure stories often leads to a hoard of coins, gold ingots, or jewellery made of precious gem stones, and generally on a far-flung island with many hazards to contend with before it can be reached.  Your half-term challenge may be simpler, but the reward equally as beautiful when closely examined.   X marks the spot! Can you hunt down treasure (with your parent/ carer’s agreement) in your garden, in the park, the woods, in the ditches, or on the verge – but leave it where it is, this treasure is not ours to take away (in fact digging up wild flowers in the UK is illegal) - leave it for other children to enjoy for many years to come. Our treasure map has 4 large X’s – bulbs have been hidden in the depths of the soil over the winter, and are now singing out to be found - snowdrops, crocuses, bluebell shoots, daffodil leaves.  Treasure is often buried - stored or stashed for the future.  Bulbs are the same – they are a food storage system, enabling plants to survive dormant through the winter and then providing the energy and nutrients for growth in the spring.  Their flowers in turn are a vital source of food for bees and other insects early in the year when there are not many other plants in flower. X - Where are your nearest snowdrops – have you spotted any yet this year? – their dainty heads popping up from the soil, giving away where their bulbs have been buried for nearly a year. X - Crocuses are slightly harder to find – but they can be true golden nuggets or amethyst gems – look out for their yellow or mauve petals. X - Some of the clues lead to treasure that is still buried, bluebells are not quite ready to give away their secret, but their delicate green shoots are appearing, and beginning to carpet the woodlands with green.  And the final X - marks the place of the daffodils – their green leaves may already be quite tall, and you may possibly, if you’re very lucky, even find a trumpet in bloom.

You may have heard from your grandparents or teachers - ‘Spring seems to be arriving earlier now than when I was a child’.  Climate change is influencing our natural world.  To avoid extinction, plants and animals need to adapt to the changing climatic conditions.  There are three key ways this can happen: 1) they can move to new areas where the ‘new climate’ is more suitable for that species (for example in the UK, birds, beetles and moths are being found in new locations). 2) genetic adaptation – this takes time, as genes respond to the new environment  3) changing ‘phenology’ – the timing of growth and development – for example snowdrops are now bursting into bud earlier in the year, as ‘Spring’ arrives earlier. In the 1950s snowdrops would not typically flower until late February, but during the past few decades they have appeared ever earlier.

There are many hundreds of different types of snowdrops – can you spot differences in the ones you find?  When you have succeeded in finding all the treasure, and taken some time to notice all its beauty, then don’t forget to HIT THE RED BUTTON!  Please send us photos or drawings of your treasure if you’d like them posted on the Young Climate Warriors gallery webpage.


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