FAMILIES are urged to prepare for camping with a difference this month by joining an exclusive event at RSPB Saltholme, near Stockton.

In support of the RSPB’s Big Wild Sleepout, which encourages all ages to spend a night in nature’s home and raise money for wildlife, staff and volunteers at RSPB Saltholme are holding a Big Wild Night Out to help everyone gear up for a night under the stars.

On Saturday (June 21), from 6 pm-11 pm, visitors will have an exclusive opportunity to explore the reserve after closing time – before going home and holding a Big Wild Sleepout in their gardens.

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Lydia Tague, Marketing Officer at RSPB Saltholme, said: “The RSPB is encouraging people to sleep out in their gardens and raise money for wildlife – so what better way to prepare than discovering the wildlife at RSPB Saltholme after dark.

“Everyone is welcome to join in this great family event and there will be lots of opportunities to discover more about wildlife in an amazing environment, and see how beautiful Saltholme is at night.”

The price is £18 for adults (£15 for RSPB members) and £15 for children (£12 for RSPB members). It includes entrance, equipment and food for a BBQ supper and everything needed to take part in all of the fun-packed activities. All participants need to bring is clothing appropriate for an evening outdoors.

The event at RSPB Satlholme is one of many taking place across the UK to celebrate the Big Wild Sleepout. In the North East, all kinds of campers will be taking part in their gardens - adventurous ones who will be building and sleeping in dens and shelters, some sticking to the traditional tent, others planning to sleep on their garden trampoline and some who will just venture outdoors and sleep under the stars.

Richard Bashford, Big Wild Sleepout organiser, says: “Most people who take part will probably help give nature a home throughout the year by providing food, water and shelter.

“The Big Wild Sleepout is your chance to take part in the RSPB’s biggest fundraising event to help give nature a home. Join family or friends for a sponsored sleepout in your back garden or at your local RSPB reserve. Put up a tent, make a shelter or sleep under the stars and discover a whole world of wildlife you can help to save.”

Some of our best loved garden favourites are among the creatures shown to be in serious trouble including starlings, hedgehogs, some butterflies and ladybirds. All are in danger of further declines unless more is done to provide better habitats.

The Big Wild Sleepout is part of the RSPB’s ‘Giving Nature a Home’ campaign, which is aimed at inspiring everyone to do their bit for nature, wherever they live and however big their outside space.

The Big Wild Sleepout is being supported by Blacks, the leading outdoor equipment specialist.

Booking is essential. Please contact the visitor centre for more details on 01642-546625 or email saltholme@rspb.org.uk.