We have come a long way since the wasteland of 4 years ago. As our club's experience has broadened, under the invaluable guidance of the wonderful Alan Everett and Peter Wholley, we are implementing more adventurous plans with increasing confidence each year. Our aim is still to cultivate and manage a wildlife area that will provide both a safe habitat for an ever-widening range of wildlife and also a place of natural beauty for our children to enjoy. The picnic area has been tidied up and laid to lawn, so Year 6 children can now use this area to relax and eat their lunches during the warmer months. We have planted bulbs, shrubs and wildflowers to add colour and provide a clear boundary between where children can sit and enjoy their lunch and the 'wild' area where insects, birds and animals take priority. Ground-water trays have been installed adjacent to the bug hotel where frogs, birds and insects can get all a drink. Bird boxes and feeders have been installed that have encouraged robins, blue-tits and pheasants to move in and take up residence. Bird-song in our wild area is quite wonderfully deafening at times now! We have created arches over pathways that are being cleared by children on an on-going basis. The log circle has been tidied up and new seating has been made and installed by Alan and Peter, so more classes can enjoy this space for activities like reading on warmer days. Alongside our planting project, we now have a shed (complete with donated tools) and a water-butt, so our nature area can be maintained and watered more easily by children and volunteers. We have a cuttings bench to help us grow our own new plants and children are learning a lot about how to cultivate new plants from these cuttings. Internal courtyards are looking good, having been well pruned and cared for by children, and we have a range of donated bulbs flowering here in pots. Sunflowers that have been taken home over the summer holidays will brighten up the new Autumn term. We even have recycled outdoor sculptures in our nature area, as well as a growing number of hedgehogs too that we hope will breed. We hope our contribution to their survival as a species will be our legacy.
Children are really excited this Autumn term to discover that there are tadpoles in Lilly's mini-pond, so we will soon have even more frogs moving in!
Update: we now have tadpoles in our main pond, so Y5/6 are looking forward to studying these in their life-cycles science unit this spring term.
The Fire-pit: Thank-you Alan!
Welcome Betty: how lucky we are you have joined us!
This year's post-lockdown club has already really embraced continuing the work started last year on the pond. Anti-slip chicken wire went down last summer to make this area easier for all year groups to enjoy, as well as for our Year 6 club to work around safely. The pond still needs a few more plants but, now that it is being lovingly managed it is becoming better established and providing an ideal habitat for frogspawn each year. Our hedgehogs can safely drink from this water source, as their plank is still in place. If they fall in, hogs are in danger of drowning. They have powerful (and surprisingly long) legs and are good swimmers, but they can only tread water for a limited time. Our plank provides an emergency route out in case of any incident. If you would like to help us develop this area, the parental section suggests plants that can help ponds thrive.