Blackdown Hills school receives Â£3000 for new environmental learning zone
Buckland St Mary Church of England Primary School, in the heart of the Blackdown Hills, has received the go-ahead for a brand new environmental education garden in its grounds. The school is now seeking volunteers to help make this valuable new learning facility a reality.
Work on the garden is due to start this spring with the creation of a wildlife area and a pond. This will transform the area where the old nursery building once stood.
The garden has been made possible through a grant of £3,000 from the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Sustainable Development Fund.
The school also received support from Blackdown Hills Natural Futures, a three-year Heritage Lottery Fund project which is supporting local people to set up community wildlife projects and gain new skills in nature conservation. The Natural Futures team helped school staff and volunteers to plan the layout and fundraise for the garden.
Blackdown Hills Natural Futures Project Manager James Maben said:
“What started as an idea during an environmental education session has grown into an exciting school project involving a host of local experts and volunteers. As well as creating important new habitat for wildlife, the project will ensure the school has a fantastic new outdoor learning space.”
The school is looking for volunteers to help with creating the space. Anyone who has skills and time to share should contact the school.
Head of School Steve Morton said:
"Although we're in an area filled with natural beauty and wonder there is little opportunity for children to get close up to nature in the school grounds. It seemed only right to take an area that been cover by concrete for over 30 years and breathe new life into it. Once finished, our new environmental learning garden will be a great resource - for Forest school, guided learning and play. I'd like to thank the AONB for the grant and the parents and local community who have already put in time to help get this project off the ground."
Notes for Editors
About Buckland St Mary Church of England Primary School
Buckland St Mary C of E Primary School is part of the Redstart Learning Partnership, a multi-academy trust of four primary schools also including The Redstart Primary School, Chard; Minerva Primary School, Taunton and Castle Primary School, Stoke sub Hamdon.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players' money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about.
About the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
The Blackdown Hills is one of 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK and is characterised by hedgerows and copses, small farms and intricate field patterns, steep valleys and narrow, winding lanes - for many it epitomises our mental picture of the English countryside. The Natural Futures project is run by Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership hosted by Devon County Council.
About the Blackdown Hills Natural Futures project (BHNF)
The Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership received funding for the Blackdown Hills Natural Futures (BHNF) project from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. Additional funding came from Devon County Council Locality Budgets, Somerset County Health and Wellbeing Budget, South Somerset District Council Community Grant, South West Water, Wessex Water, Wessex Watermark and the Viscount Amory’s Charitable Trust.
The project aims to find out more about the natural heritage of the Blackdown Hills; to raise awareness of the area’s natural heritage and to help local communities to build skills and confidence to set up their own natural heritage projects. The project is following a ‘Discover it! – Share it! – Do it!’ approach; an innovative and exciting process involving training, research and communication, to support community participation and conservation action. The project will run for three years and started in January 2015.
The project is being be run by the Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership and is supported by Blackdown Hills Trust; Blackdown Hills Parish Network; Devon Biodiversity Records Centre; Devon Wildlife Trust; Plymouth University; Somerset Environmental Records Centre; and Somerset Wildlife Trust.