Legacy project - Education

Rosemary Marshall and I have been approaching primary schools in the area with a view to inviting 3 or 4 of them to join in our project to create or enhance a wildlife area with a view to reconnecting children with nature.  We now have 3 schools who are all very excited to be included.  Rosemary and I have visited them all and been shown the areas to be developed and work has begun.

We met the Office Manager and the Early Years Teacher at Rumboldswhyke Infants School.  They have had a wildlife area for some years but this has been neglected recently and they are delighted to have the opportunity to revitalise it.  A replacement camera box was top of their list.  They have a pond and a large Bug Hotel that is still very effective.  This school does not require a lot of input from CNHS.  Rosemary Marshall, Richard Williamson and I visited them to hand over their equipment and talk to them about how to use it.  Richard demonstrated binoculars and talked about the wildlife in his garden.  He begged them not to drop cans or yogurt pots in the countryside and told them how dangerous they can be to wildlife.  The Head teacher then showed us around their lovely wildlife area and we pointed out the camera nest box to Richard.  A blue tit has already shown interest in it. We have been invited back in the summer to see how the area is progressing.

The Head teacher at Funtington Primary School would like their new Woodland Walk developed.  She submitted a Wish List of equipment she felt would benefit local wildlife and the children, giving them an opportunity to get involved with making and putting up homes for such things as birds, hedgehogs, bees, bugs and amphibians. She is keen to have a small wetland/marsh area to attract wildlife which will be at one end of the woodland. There is also an arch which she would like covered with climbers.  She would also like a nectar bed or pots with flowers to attract bees and butterflies. Snowdrops and other woodland plants will be planted after half term.  We are currently sourcing an outdoor blackboard to be fixed to the shed for the children to write their sightings.  A robin/wren nest box and 2 bat boxes are due to be installed after half term. At the end of February we have been invited, with Richard Williamson, to talk to the children at an assembly and hand over the equipment.  Some children will then show Richard the Woodland Walk and where the nest box and bat boxes have been hung.

The Forest School teacher is our contact at Chidham School. He showed us a pond, which is in need of some clearance and replanting and would love to be able to use it for pond dipping.  On our visit to install nest boxes a newt was spotted in the pond. There is a large area of decking next to the pond, which is fenced. This will provide places for troughs/pots sown with seeds to attract pollinating insects. A robin box has been installed near the pond and 2 tit boxes on trees around the edge of the field. We are providing 2 pond nets with sampling trays and ID guides which we hope the children will enjoy. We hope to be able to hold an Assembly as at the other schools when we hand over the equipment.  Richard is keen to come too. This morning 2 volunteers, myself and a parent volunteer met with some of the children to start work pruning the buddleia and cutting back some of the vegetation along the side.  It was very cold and the pond was iced up but gradually began to thaw. Two hours of hard work cutting, raking, collecting prunings and taking them to add to the heap and we had done as much as we could today.  A Robin was singing his encouragement and, as we left, 2 Robins came down to inspect the newly-made log pile – and the nest box we had just put up!

We have asked the schools to give us some feedback such as drawings, photos, articles from the children so we can report to CNHS members and show them how the money is being used.  The schools are all keen to do this and we are looking into the possiblity of getting such reports on to our website so that each school can see what the others are doing as well.  One staff member has become so enthused she is buying a butterfly feeder and Frogitat for her own garden and as presents for her family.  At another school the Head teacher is thinking of forming a Natural History Club to carry on what this project has started.

In order to get the projects going successfully, we would be very grateful for some help from volunteers.  We will need help with digging and planting the marsh at Funtington.  Also, planting climbers and building a bug hotel there.

I would like to thank all those who have offered to help already but, as usual, the more people we have the less work for each one.  I am not expecting to visit Funtington more than once or twice a term in the spring and summer, but nothing is definite yet

Philippa Arnott                                                           

01243 575345 or 07840859122


Erecting Robin box at Chidham

Erecting camera box at Rumboldswhyke

Richard Williamson at Rumboldswhyke

Clearing the pond at Chidham

Getting there

Clearing the heavy stuff

Spot the robin

Chichester, West Sussex

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