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Wild Summer 6 - mini-rafts

Posted: Friday 28th August 2015 by Joe.P

mini raftsweek 6 - mini rafts

Wild Summer volunteer Phillip Hickson reports on the sixth and final week of our wild summer at EcoPark as families made some fanastic mini rafts to float on the ponds thanks to the support of players of People's Postcode Lottery.

My wild summer has sadly finished, however, it finished with one of the most fun weeks yet. On Wednesday and Thursday, 30 families came to the EcoPark to make their very own raft, or sailing boat, or Ark, depending on just how adventurous they were feeling.

Tying willow twigs together to make a frame proved more challenging than many originally thought, but nobody was willing to leave defeated. Having made a frame in whatever shape they desired, ranging from the traditional square and creative triangle all the way to the eccentric pyramidal raft, the families then had to take reed leaves and weave them between the willow twigs to make a larger surface. 

Colours were then the order of the day, as flags were needed to decorate and identify the rafts. Flags of home countries, countries of peoples own creation and statements of how much the raft owner liked frogs were all seen adorning the reed masts of various vessels. 

Once completed, there was a tense, nerve racking moment as the fruits of up to two hours work was placed, very carefully, onto the pond at the EcoPark. This was the moment that everyone feared, would their raft float gracefully on the surface? Or sink like a stone? Most floated brilliantly, some even catching the wind with their flags to move around the pond like a sailing boat. Others, however, had to be rescued before being lost forever, but even these normally returned with some minor adjustments to allow them to sail amongst the others. 

The rafts, having had a successful test, then left the EcoPark with their smiling families, many of whom planned to go to the nearby river to send their rafts off into the distance.

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