The All Things Green project is funded by Forestry Commission Scotland; Robertson Trust and the Ernest Cook Trust and aims to develop, promote and increase opportunities for outdoor learning within school grounds, or local green sites/ woodlands.
Over the last year I have been working with the staff, pupils, parents and volunteers at Ednam, Sprouston, Earlston and Eddleston Primary Schools. Project work has included: investigating & surveying local wildlife through the seasons; lots and lots of digging – creating new habitats to encourage more wildlife, e.g. wildflower meadows; small mini-pond wetland areas; bug hibernation homes/ log piles/ rock piles/ beetle buckets; tree and pollinator friendly planting; building bat and bird homes…… to name a few. Many of the installations/ developments we have achieved were researched and designed by the children and used recycled and donated materials.
For all of the schools involved in the project this year, this is the first phase of their grounds development. Staff are all very keen to continue to: use their outdoor areas regularly for a wide range of curricular activities; engage the children in ongoing wildlife surveys/ monitoring; whilst also working with parent helpers and school volunteers to expand the amount of stimulating/ useful/ exciting and inspirational installations in their sites.
I would like to say an extra big ‘Well done’ to the pupils at Sprouston Primary have all earned a Discovery Level John Muir Award during their project work this term.
Quote from Mrs Fiona Taylor (Eddleston Primary School): ‘My class are hugely proud of all the work they have done in their school grounds. It has given them a huge sense of ownership and interest in all that is going on around them. They have become little experts in both the variety of wildlife and the ability to find out what unknown things are.
They have also demonstrated skills in other areas of the curriculum so as well as the practical and interesting work outside they have extended their factual writing, research and interpersonal skills. They will readily have a go and work together sharing jobs and taking responsibility for the area they are developing.
Every child has found something to interest them from creating habitats, digging ponds, observing animal footprints- working out what they are and watching a nest of swallow chicks grow and fledge.
Anna was able to take the children’s ideas and guide them to make them a reality. We now have a variety of habitats within out grounds and lots to keep the children interested in their own surroundings.’
Excerpts of thank you letters written by the children at Eddleston Primary School…..
‘Thank you for coming to our school and teaching us about bugs, beasties, birds, animals, trees, plants and lots, lots more. Since you started with us, our school has totally transformed. We have already seen more wildlife!’
‘Thank you for helping us make lots of cool things like a hibernaculum and footprint sand traps. We have a lot of plants, fruit and veg. You also helped us make habitats for frogs, birds, bugs, beetles, bees, bats and feeders for butterflies. It has been great fun.’