LITTLE Bethan Gallon got up-close and personal with a collection of crawly critters and furry friends after winning a schools competition.
The eight-year-old, from Washington, was one of 40 children who enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon meeting tortoises and touching tarantulas as part of the Make Tracks this Spring campaign, organised by Schools Go Smarter.
The idea is to reduce congestion on the region’s already busy roads by encouraging people to leave the car at home.
Children who registered for a free sticker pack were entered into the competition, with the winners getting to enjoy the animals brought along by the Scales ’N’ Tails team.
More than 15 little critters were featured on the stickers and the fortunate youngsters got the chance to meet some of the animals they had been trying to spot – and some more exotic ones.
Mum Karen, who took Bethan along, said: “We’ve had a really good day out. Bethan had a lot of fun holding, touching and learning about the animals and insects.
“Getting in the car might be the easy option but it’s not as much fun as walking.
“On the first day back from the Easter holidays, we have decided we are going to walk to school and see if we can spot any of the creatures we saw today.”
With the help of a free sticker pack, the campaign asked parents to leave the car at home and turn the school run into an adventure for their child by helping them to look out for urban wildlife.
Go Smarter is being delivered on behalf of the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority. It is a partnership between local authorities, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland and Nexus.
To find out more about Make Tracks This Spring, visit: www.gosmarter.co.uk