FREE summer activities are being held to enable families to spend quality time together and to get more in touch with nature.

Durham Wildlife Trust has worked with The Salvation Army in Crook to deliver a wildlife-focused activities during the summer holidays.

The programme started with three half-day sessions, during which the Trust's education leaders took families out to explore wildlife in their home town and look out for in their local ‘wild spaces’ such as the park, their gardens and nature reserves.

Dorina Kealoha, engagement officer for Durham Wildlife Trust, said: “Our aim is to increase the children’s and adults’ awareness and knowledge about nature and give them the confidence to go out, enjoy and experience local wild places. We hope the children will enjoy being outside and have quality family time together.

“The sessions include wildlife crafts with something for the children to take home to share with their family and talk about what they can do locally to encourage wildlife.

"Families will be exploring and learning about ‘terrific trees’, ‘brilliant bees and butterflies’ and ‘wonderful wildflowers’ among other things.”

Durham Wildlife Trust plans day trips to its nature reserves at Low Barns, Witton le Wear, and Derwent Reservoir for families to discover and learn about wildlife and different habitats on the sites.

There will also be interactive activities and games to help them spot and identify wildlife, such as pond dipping, meadow sweeps, visiting the bird hides, listening to sounds in nature plus craft activities and time in the play area at Derwent Reservoir.

Funding provided by the 3 Towns Area Action Partnership will pay for staff, resources and transport costs and lunch will be provided at all the sessions with funding secured by The Salvation Army from the AAP.

Sandy Denney, 3 Towns Partnership coordinator, said: “We are really pleased to fund this project as part of our wider programme of activities for children, young people and families across the 3 Towns area this summer, giving children and their families the opportunity to get outside together; enjoy nature, have fun and learn about what they can do to encourage wildlife in their own area.”

Paula Gray, community programme coordinator at Crook Salvation Army, said: “It is a good opportunity for local families to spend quality time together learning about the wildlife on their doorsteps.”