Environmental Review Score: 4 out of 6 (Amber) (May 21) ► 5 out of 6 (Green) (Oct 21)
We have done quite a lot in the past few years to improve the Biodiversity in our school grounds. We have a natural area to work and play in, we have made bug hotels and reserved wild areas and we have planters to grow our own fruit and vegetables. In our lessons and worship, we learn about the threat to living things caused by climate change, pollution and human lifestyle.
- Put up more bird feeders, replenish them more regularly and get some hedgehog shelters.
- Gardening club to move and restore the planters, and consider a polytunnel for more gardening
- More wild-life friendly long grass areas, plant more insect/pollinator-friendly flowers/bushes, more tree-planting (including fruit trees) and wildflower meadow planting in Spring/Summer.
- Complete What's under Your Feet, Big Bird Watch and Butterfly Count this year (21/22)
- Start Forest Schools
- 6 bird feeders have been put up and the Eco team are filling them up regularly. Lots of people have donated bird food
- Each class has been given a tomato plant to look after.
- Y5 have undertaken a Balsam Bash in Astley Park and we hope we will be able to do this every year, to help protect local species.
- What's Under Your Feet citizen science survey started by Y4 as part of Science Unit
- 20 trees arrived in Autumn 2021 for the Queen's Green Canopy and a further 5 orchard trees in Jan 2022. Potted up for now until the Spring.
- Gardening club has started work in Jan 2022.
- RSPB Big Bird Watch completed in Jan 2022.
We have taken part in the RSPB's Big Bird Watch, to identify and track the number of different bird species which visit our school grounds. We made sure we had very well-stocked feeders in the run up to the event. We also focussed our feeders on two main areas - near Mrs Marquis' office and in the Reception garden - so that we had somewhere to "hide". We didn't see Mrs Marquis' elusive grey wagtail during the count, but here's what we did see (the most counted at any time during the hour):
3 Blue tits
3 long-tailed tits
2 coal tits
2 carrion crows
2 feral pigeons
2 wood pigeons
2 herring gull
2 house sparrows
We're delighted that our free orchard trees have arrived from the Tree Council! We've received two quince trees, a Victoria Plum and two dessert apples: Red Windsor and Cox's Orange Pippin. Our keen gardeners, David and Oliver, have unpacked them and planted them into pots for now, just until its a bit warmer and we can then plant them in the ground in their final positions.
We were delighted to take delivery of the pack of 15 saplings we ordered to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Thank you to the Woodland Trust for making these available to us for free for the Queen's Green Canopy. We received 5 willows, 5 hazels and 5 crab apples. They are very small saplings and we have potted them up and put them in a sheltered spot for the winter. We'll plant them in the grounds in Spring.
The Mayor of Chorley helped us to get our tree-planting off to a great start. See the information here
At the end of their Science unit, Y4 have taken the opportunity to get involved in a Citizen Science project, called What's Under Your Feet. This is a survey undertaken to help scientists understand what is happening to the population of invertebrate animals, which is crucial to the food chain for larger animals and for bio-diversity in the United Kingdom. Scientists are asking schools to dig up a section of earth in different places within the school grounds and count the living things that pupils find. If we repeat this over the year and in subsequent years, we will start to get a good understanding of how things are changing and why. Despite the really rainy day, Y4 had a brilliant time digging up, counting their finds and working scientifically!
As we get further into Autumn, the Eco Team's attention has turned to our feathered friends as they start to prepare for the cold winter months ahead. We put out a message asking for bird food and feeders and received such generous donations! Thank you to everyone who has sent in delicious treats for the birds in our school grounds. Our Eco team have spent time today replenishing our existing bird-feeders and putting up new ones. We know they will be a hit! They had a particularly interesting time examining the dried meal worms in one of the bags of food. Yum, yum!
We have just been told by the Tree Council that our application for a pack of small fruit trees has been successful! We will be able to to start our own orchard in the school grounds. This is one of the ideas generated by our Eco-Ambassadors and we are excited to get this underway. The children wanted to grow their own food to share in school, as well as plant trees and provide more habitats for wildlife in the school grounds. They thought having more locally grown food in school was pretty healthy too. Thanks to Chorley Council for letting us know about this scheme. Trees will be arriving in the next month or so..
The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. The Eco-team are delighted to announce that our application for a pack of free trees as part of this scheme has been successful. The Woodland Trust will be delivering a pack of 15 saplings next November, including hazel, silver birch, rowan and crab apple. We are excited to take part in the Queen's celebration, and the trees will provide a welcome haven for pollinators and wildlife in our school grounds.
They will also off-set the rest of our carbon footprint, once the Energy Decarbonisation Project is complete. These trees, together with all the many others in our grounds (we are blessed with our woodland), will absorb the carbon dioxide which we produce, helping to stop climate change. This is all part of our transformation project and living out our vision - making our school a greener place, where we care for God's good Earth.
We are blessed here in our school to have the wonderful Astley Park right on our doorstep. Working with the volunteers from the Friends of Astley Park, Y5 experienced the satisfying activity that is Balsam Bashing. They learned that balsam is a beautiful plant, native to the Himalayas, which was introduced many years ago to the UK and has since run wild. It is a clever plant, brilliant at adapting and survival, so much so that is now invasive and considered a threat to indigenous wildlife. Y5 cleared a large part of the Astley Park woodland, giving our native plants a chance to re-grow and prosper. It was pretty good fun too!
Busy Eco team at lunch time this afternoon as they put up 6 new bird feeders, for seeds and fat balls. We placed them in the trees and shrubs closest to school, right outside Mrs Marquis' office window! Although it is summer and there is plenty of food for the birds at the moment, hopefully we’ll encourage regular visitors ready for the winter. We also out up some feeders down the bottom of the field, in the mature trees.
Y2 planted sunflowers as part of their Plants Science topic and some of these now grace the gate entrance to school. They are looking absolutely glorious and are doing a great job of attracting pollinators to the school grounds, just as we had hoped. Thank you to a parent who has snapped this beautiful shot of a honey bee on one of the sunflower heads!
Each class has been given a tomato plant to take care of and nurture. We want everyone to be responsible for looking after a plant and to know how easy it is to grow delicious food in all sorts of spaces. There has been a serious amount of competitive behaviour breaking out and some creative naming across the school. We are hoping to have some fantastic plants to use in our exhibit for the Chorley Flower Show later in the year.
Thank you to all our families and staff who volunteered to take the plants home for the May half-term holiday. The plants all returned looking bushy and healthy after their stay-cations.
Y6 have been tending the school gardens in the dry weather and preparing the raised beds for our next round of planting (when we no longer have frosty nights). Jobs to do: water the strawberries and rhubarb, harvest last season's onions and start the weeding.
Improving the school grounds to increase wildlife visitors in the cold winter months.