Bournemouth Natural Science Society is to launch a new club for children called ‘Young Explorers’ with help from Dorset’s Wessex Group.
The collection of companies, based in Shaftesbury, is providing funding to enable the first 50 youngsters to be given a starter kit.
BNSS is a magnificent hangover from the Victorian era and exists to promote the study, interest and enjoyment in all branches of the natural sciences and history.
Its premises in Christchurch Road house some astonishing collections, with many unique, rare and priceless examples and artefacts.
The Wessex Group is celebrating its half century this year and each month is giving 50 somethings to a good cause or charity.
It heard that BNSS, a registered charity, was launching the Young Explorers’ club and was keen to help promote membership to youngsters aged from seven to 12.
With fine examples of dinosaur fossils and an Egyptian collection that includes an ancient mummy, BNSS is a natural playground for inquisitive schoolchildren.
Amongst other things the society possesses are thousands of stuffed animals, preserved specimens, birds’ eggs, butterflies, moths, sea creatures, flora, fauna, geological examples, stone age tools, a reference library and large garden.
The starter kits will include a hand lens for the youngsters to begin examining the world around them in great detail.
Mark Spencer, BNSS President, said: “We have a wonderful resource here and we really want to encourage more young people to enjoy it.
“We have many volunteers who are experts in their own areas and we also hold talks in our lecture theatre and organise field trips and other visits.
“Many of us are on the older side and we want to share our enthusiasm with children and we hope that the Young Explorers club will do this.
“The donation from Wessex Group is very kind and will help us attract more young people.”
Mike Holloway, a director of Wessex Electricals, part of the Wessex Group, visited the society for a tour.
He said: “The BNSS is a hidden gem in the county and its collections are remarkable. Children will thoroughly enjoy it – and they can’t help but learn things.
“The donation is our way of supporting the members here and to assist them in reaching out to a whole new generation.”
BNSS was formed in 1903 out of the remnants of several Victorian societies and collections. It moved to its Grade II listed building in 1920.
The Young Explorers will be officially launched in January and those interested can contact Steve Limburn on email@example.com through the society’s website.
Meetings will take place on the second Saturday of each month except April and October when there are open days. The cost will be £4 per meeting for each Young Explorer. Details will on the BNSS website www.bnss.org.uk