MOVING virtual mountains and examining life under a microscope are just some of the activities on offer at the Sutton Bank National Park Centre this summer.

The family-friendly Nature Lab activities examine a different aspect of the River Rye, demonstrating its importance to the region.

Alex Cripps, programme manager for the Ryevitalise Landscape Partnership project at the North York Moors National Park Authority, said: “Taking part in our Nature Lab will help us to plan a new, permanent exhibition about the River Rye, showing why it’s special and why we need to care for its landscape and wildlife.

"We can’t wait for families to test our exhibits, tell us what they most enjoy and submit their lab notes into our research post box before they leave.”

Amongst the activities is an augmented reality sandbox, which enables visitors to model different landscapes and make virtual rain to see where the water flows.

Also on display is the mini Land Rover, with children asked to spot River Rye wildlife to earn their Ranger licences.

An arts and crafts table also invites families to get creative in the name of biodiversity.

The Ryevitalise Landscape Partnership is working with local communities, volunteers and land managers to restore and enhance the River Rye and its tributaries, as well as encouraging people to reconnect with the history, cultural heritage and wildlife of the area.

The project is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, North York Moors National Park Authority and other partners.

Alongside Nature Lab, the Ryevitalise team are running three river-inspired events in August, with details as follows:

Sunday 15 August, Riverfly CSI - Get up close to aquatic minibeasties. Discover invertebrates such as mayfly and caddisfly under the microscope and learn more about their fascinating lifecycles.

Sunday 22 August, River Model Magic - Use a real-life model to design and make a river, complete with trees, farm animals and of course, water.

Monday 30 August, Bugs Rock - Ryevitalise experts will be on hand to help children search for bugs, they can then create their very own rock bug to take home.

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