Staff and pupils at Woodham Academy took advantage of the unseasonably good autumn weather to showcase their broad-leaved trees and shrubs to groups of enthusiastic youngsters.
The event, which formed part of the school’s Y7 Specialist Day, also included a practical workshop on how to design and make model bird-boxes – ahead of Woodham Wildlife Club’s plans to begin installing real ones over the next few months.
Participants were informed the event was part of the school’s strategy to improve environmental awareness and to re-model the landscape to benefit local wildlife.
They were excited to hear that hedges were now being managed to provide over-wintering shelter and food for song birds and farm birds, and that a boundary would be allowed to flourish in order to create a corridor around the site.
The school, they were informed, was also home to a number of wildflowers, including three species of orchid, and that the intention was to create both spring and summer wildflower meadows – which would be managed by the County Council in conjunction with pupils.
A number of those present have already signed up to a programme run by the prestigious conservation group, the John Muir Trust, and are actively working towards their ‘Discoverer’ award. To achieve this award participants must complete the equivalent of four days’ conservation work, doing something to protect and promote the natural-world and its biodiversity.
The tour guide, Mr Heaven, took learners to a corner of woodland where Wildlife Club members have already been hard at work removing litter and collecting windfall branches to create ‘dead borders’ for mammals, invertebrates and amphibians.
They were impressed that the site could boast fox, stoat and bat sightings.
Although it would, admittedly, have been too much to ask the wildlife to put in a personal appearance on the day, proceedings were briefly interrupted when one unsuspecting squirrel found itself, briefly, the focus of their unwanted attentions.
Woodham Academy is hosting a ‘Big Dig’ on Saturday 15th November, when volunteers will be planting 450 Woodland Trust donated trees around the school as part of their ambitious plans.