Have you taken the kids to the beach this summer? writes George Hogg (Hogg Estate Services)
Did you include a bit of rockpooling?
There can be few more direct ways of engaging young people with nature.
My photograph shows a Fifteen Spined Stickleback.
Hopefully your kids are already familiar with the Three Spined Stickleback of freshwater rivers and ponds.
The sea dwelling species is much thinner as you can see. However, it is just as tempting and tricky a target for the youngster armed with a net and pail.
There is also something exotic and exciting about stalking and catching this sea dwelling species of stickleback.
It is best to stand quietly and watch the shallows for signs of movement.
Just like freshwater sticklebacks, the sea variety makes short movements between static hovers.
The idea of this is to confuse predators which may notice the short movement but then loses sight of the stickleback during its next pause.
Don’t worry if you can’t find this wonderfully adapted species, there are plenty other rock pool inhabitants.
Shrimps, crabs, shannies, butterfish and all manner of unfamiliar sea life will satisfy the latent hunting instincts of kids.
After a while the variety of species in your pail will make for fascinating viewing. Kids love this non digital, unplugged, wet and wild experience.
Schools may be open again but the shore is still there at weekends.
Surely we owe it to this current generation of children to show them the joy of simple pleasures?
Go searching for the fifteen spined stickleback.
You may not find one but I guarantee you will discover the great outdoors.