Runner up - Small Steppes School Challenge

Congratulations to Emily, Year 10, who was runner up in the recent Small Steppes School Challenge. The challenge set was to write an essay about "My Best Wildlife Experience" and Emily described her encounter with an animal that we are lucky enough to be able to see in the school grounds from time to time...

Wanderlust.

Noun.

A strong desire to travel.

I’m lucky enough to have a family who loves travelling. We’ve been to so many amazing places and experienced so many amazing different cultures. It’s taught me so much. I’ve seen Marrakesch with snake charmers and spices, Borneo with orangutans and leaches, Sri Lanka with elephants and peacocks everywhere and even New York City with the bright lights of the concrete jungle. I’ve seen deadly pigtail macaques and alligators right near our boat but no, those aren’t my best wildlife experiences. My best wildlife experience happened right here, in Great Britain.

My favourite animals have and always will be deer. Whether it be a doe, a stag or fawn. Maybe it’s because I’m a November baby and they remind me of my birth season, or perhaps it’s the fact that I have an unhealthy love for ‘Bambi’. Either way, I’m obsessed.

It was a crisp autumn day and my family and I decided to get up at the crack of dawn to take our two cocker spaniels, Willow and Bracken, on a long well-deserved walk. We wrapped up warm, grabbed the camera and piled into the car. Twenty minutes later, we arrived at the scenic park. We put the dogs on the lead and opened the black, frosty gate. The winter air was crisp and fresh and you could hear the crunch of the amber leaves beneath our wellies. After a hot chocolate or two, it was the perfect winter walk and we didn’t think anything could make it better.

That was until we came across an area beside the path dotted with a few trees and tufts of grass. We walked towards it when we saw an abundance of deer. Tawny creatures with white spots dotted on their backs. Cream bellies and a tiny fluff of fur for a tail. Majestic antlers which gave the stags an almost regal feel to them. My mum and I decided to get closer to one of them to get a quick photo when, slowly and gingerly, it reared its head toward me. I stroked its smooth fur before it started pawing the dew-covered grass with its dark hoof.

I still remember this event like it was yesterday. Even though it may seem mundane to see deer, it has been my best wildlife experience yet.

Happiness.

Noun.

The state of being completely content where you are.

By Emily, Year 10