Surrey schools Step up for Nature with the RSPB
Last modified: 20 September 2012
Surrey’s schoolchildren have been working hard to help save the UK’s wildlife by taking part in a number of activities with the RSPB.
Each of these activities count as a step in the conservation charity’s Stepping up for Nature campaign, and show how easy, and fun, it is to help nature.
The steps that these wildlife friendly schools have taken include fundraising, taking part in a nature survey, setting up a wildlife club and achieving bronze, silver or gold in the RSPB’s Wildlife Action Awards.
Beddington Infants School in Wallington took three steps for nature by achieving their bronze, silver and gold Wildlife Action Awards.
Headteacher, Liz Kearney said: “We are very lucky to be in a school surrounded with trees and grass. We think it's very important that young children have access to the natural world. For example each class has adopted a tree and have been recorded the changes through the seasons.
“The children feed the birds and take great delight in watching the many birds who visit the feeders across the school. Our fruit trees are also popular with the children throughout the year, but especially when they each harvest a piece of fruit to eat.
“Last year the children and staff created a pond in a secluded area of the school which is now known as the Wildlife Area. The children are genuinely concerned about the safety of the mini beasts and birds which live or visit the area and are careful to disturb them as little as possible.”
The RSPB Wildlife Action Awards were introduced in 1995. In total, more than 100 ponds and more than 200 wildlife gardens have been created as part of the Wildlife Action Awards. 4,500 nestboxes have been built and almost 2,000 children have written to their MPs on issues from protecting the marine environment to recycling waste.
Bond Primary School in Mitcham, took two steps for nature by taking part in the RSPB’s Big Schools Birdwatch and having a Wildlife Explorer Club in their school.
Margaret Follows, Environmental Education Coordinator at Bond Primary said: “Children at Bond love working in the outdoor classroom, wildlife, vegetable and fruit garden.
“We have supported the Big School Birdwatch for many years. Everybody is involved, as each class choose their observation areas to watch and wait for the birds to visit. The children are never disappointed as luckily we have a wide variety of visitors. I collect and collate the results on the survey sheets with children in an ICT lesson, so the Big School Birdwatch has become an integral part of our creative curriculum
“I run a very popular weekly after- school Wildlife Explorers Club. We have our own secret recipe for a Bond Birdcake, which is very tasty and popular with the birds. On rainy days I find this a very useful resource and know the children follow it up at home too.
“At Wildlife club we are always busy and tend our vegetable and fruit garden and plant trees to improve the habitats for minibeasts and local wildlife. We are involved with lots of environmental projects as I feel these provide relevant and active involvement for the children and are crucial to their learning. The latest was the Mini Wildflower Meadows Schools Competition, when we created a butterfly shaped mini meadow to tempt butterflies, bees and birds into the Bond fruit and vegetable garden. Bond school grounds are an exciting outdoor learning environment for all children.”
Don Fuller, RSPB south east youth officer, said: “Children who have the opportunity to explore nature through real-life and hands on experiences will absorb far more information and are more likely to connect with the nature around them.
“Getting children interested in wildlife from a young age is really important and when children know they are making a positive difference to their world – their enthusiasm is infectious.
“It’s really important to build on this enthusiasm and instill a love of nature in our children which will ensure this campaign reaps benefits for future generations.”
As a special 'thank you' to teachers and children that have taken steps for nature over the past year, the RSPB has sent over 2,625 brightly coloured 'Stepping Up for Nature' packs to schools across the country.
The pack contains a letter detailing the steps the school has completed, a certificate to say thank you and well done, stickers and an information sheet that gives suggestions for other steps that can be taken in school or at home.
The RSPB’s ‘Stepping Up for Nature’ movement encourages everybody to take steps, no matter how big or small, in order to help protect nature and ensure the Government meets its target to halt the decline in biodiversity by 2020.
If you have been inspired by these youngsters and would like to Step up for Nature yourself, please visit the RSPB’s website www.rspb.org.uk/steppingup for more information and ideas.