On Friday, 10th March, our girls from the Roots & Shoots Eco Group returned to the Singleton Environmental Centre in Ashford, Kent for the second day of the environmental awareness event. Claire Norman, the Senior Climate Action Officer for Ashford Borough Council, had based this day around ‘How to Encourage Wildlife into Your Garden’; in particular, looking at native birds, and pollinators.
The day started with everyone discussing what each school had taken away, and put into action, since the last event. There was also the opportunity to celebrate awards or certificates each school had achieved since the last meeting. Claire Norman was very keen to share the great success we had at the Roots & Shoots Awards, and it was lovely to hear about all the other fantastic projects and achievements gained across the other groups as a whole. This was also a great time to swap ideas and information about resources and set up other contacts. Between then and break, the time was spent learning the importance of having birds visit our gardens and how to distinguish between the different birds. Everyone then took part in a bird identification quiz to test their knowledge.
After a short break with squash and biscuits, everyone got back to work. For the next activity, the children from each school made a bird box which they were able to take away – we will be adding ours to our ‘Bird Café’ area to make it even more appealing for visiting birds. After an amazing morning, we stopped for a break. It was a little cold and windy so, after a quick wander around the grounds to see what birds we could spot, we sat inside to eat our lunch.
In the afternoon session, the teachers went to meet and talk with Louella Ward from the Kent Downs. She is currently working on a new project to secure Cross-Channel UNESCO Global Geopark status for the Kent Downs. The proposed Geopark will comprise both terrestrial areas and the marine area connecting the two protected landscapes, recognising and celebrating the geological connection between the UK and France through the white cliffs of both coastlines. Louella is working hard to engage with schools, hoping to incorporate activities linked to this important project into the curriculum. We are extremely keen to work with Louella so have already exchanged details and are awaiting the next step to be included in this amazing project.
Whilst the teachers were out, the children discussed the importance of pollinators and mini-beasts to the garden, and the jobs they do for us. The children made spinning butterfly identification wheels to help them recognise native butterflies then took part in a discussion about the importance of choosing flowering plants to encourage bees and butterflies in to your garden. At the end of the session, they made their own wild flower seed paper which they were allowed to take away with them.
The day, again, was a great success and everyone learnt lots; we are really looking forward to the next session which is due June, 2023. The topic will be on how to carry out a Bio-Blitz.
We will keep you posted.