Monday, 26 February 2018

'It's given the children a love of wildlife': the schools letting nature in

In school fields and communities, pupils are learning about the fragility of nature – and restoring depleted environments

Sat 17 Feb 2018 09.00 GMTLast modified on Sat 17 Feb 2018 12.13 GMT

After the long slog of winter, pupils at Evelyn Community primary school in Merseyside are getting outside with a mission in mind: to count and record the number of different bird species in the school grounds. The challenge is part of the Big School’s Bird Watch, an event which last year involved 73,000 school children and their teachers.

But the children have been taking an active interest in the wildlife at their school for a while. Since creating a garden in an unused corner of their field more than two years ago, the pupils have attracted a variety of birds. They’ve planted wildflower seeds, created a vegetable plot, made bird nests, and learned about biodiversity. The school has a wicker bird hide and has bought binoculars to encourage bird spotting all year round.

The school’s headteacher, Carole Arnold, says the impact of the children’s work on biodiversity in the garden has been significant. A group of 12 children spend time in the garden each week, for a full term, before giving a new group their turn. “Our school field had absolutely no birds at all [before]. It’s really given the children a love of wildlife,” she says. “We use it with some vulnerable children as well who sometimes need help to be calm.”

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