GO – Visit a windfarm

Wind farms – Do you love them or loathe them?

Whether you love them or hate them, wind farms and other kinds of renewable ‘green’ energy are here to stay – whatever the weather. But, regardless of if you are in favour of them or not, at least go and visit one, talk to people, and find out what their role is for our increasingly overpopulated, but energy deprived, planet.

Before you go

Some of the world’s largest wind farms are made up of hundreds of individual turbines covering tens of square miles, generating thousands of MegaWatts of power. More common are smaller farms consisting of just a small handful of turbines, sometimes only three or four.

Visit and get to know a wind farm then at least your opinion, be it for or against, will be an informed one. Use the suggested lines of enquiries to help you get the most out of your visit.

Some things to think about before your visit

  • Are wind turbines bad for wildlife, particularly birds?
  • Do more people like wind farms then dislike them?
  • How large are wind turbines?
  • What are the parts of a wind turbine?
  • How do wind turbines work?

While you are there

Talk and ask questions to local people. The best way to tap into the local community’s perception of a wind farm is to get out and talk to them. Try and speak to as many people as possible; a short, 2-question survey is better than a long one. Understand what a NIMBY is.

Get PHYSICAL. Find out how tall a wind turbine is and pace out the distance on the ground using strides. This will give a concrete reference of just how large the structures are. Get the children to close their eyes and then turn slowly until they feel the wind blowing directly onto their faces. When they open their eyes they should be facing in the same direction as each other (and all of the turbines).

Encourage children to LOOK closely at the shape and design of the turbine blades. They are not flat like the sails of a windmill but shaped more like the propeller of an aeroplane. Encourage the youngsters also to notice the direction in which the turbines are facing (they should all be facing in the same direction). With a timer, time the speed of the turbine blades. Do they always spin at the same speed?
Windfarm blade

LISTEN to points for and against. One of the arguments aimed at wind farms by people that don’t support their existence is that they are noisy. Take this opportunity to find out first-hand just how noisy they are. Using a smart phone, take recordings using the voice recorder app at various distances away from the turbines.

When you get back

Here are some ideas for things to do:

  • Carry out RESEARCH into the unanswered lines of enquiry. There is a lot of information on the Web.
  • PRESENT findings (one wildlife impact and local perception) to the company that owns it – they will value it.
  • ILLUSTRATE a cross-section view of a turbine.
  • MAKE a windmill like those on sale at sea-side shops. What is the best blade/sail shape?


For more ideas for places to go and learn about, we wrote a book called LEARNING OUTDOORS with the MEEK FAMILY.