Students at St Edburg’s Church of England Primary School enjoyed an outdoor ecology lesson with a twist this week.
Over a dozen students from the school – located on the Kingsmere Estate – were invited to find out more about the importance of local wildlife and the vital role insect pollinators play in maintaining ecosystems from housing developer CALA Homes.
The schoolchildren were invited to visit CALA at Kingsmere’s nectar garden, taking part in a specially curated lesson led by Benchmark Grounds Maintenance, who designed the garden with sustainability and biodiversity in mind before the students crafted their very own ‘bug hotel’ for the school’s classroom.
CALA has transformed part of its Kingsmere sales complex into a nectar garden, which incorporates nectar-rich shrubs and plants alongside butterfly feeders, a ‘high-rise bug hotel’, information points to learn about local wildlife, and bee nesting towers for pollinators.
The landscape designer and creator of CALA’s nectar garden, Beverly Rodway-Smith from Benchmark Grounds Maintenance, shared some simple and effective tips in the workshop, on how the students can help support the flora and fauna in their own surroundings.
Beverly commented: “We can all take small steps to help support our local wildlife and protect the environment, and I think it’s really important that we instil that enthusiasm and ethos in children from a young age.
“We showed the children around the bug hotels and butterfly feeders before demonstrating just how vital a role our pollinators – such as bees and beetles – are for sustaining food crops and plants.
“Although the high-rise bug hotel within CALA’s garden was quite the undertaking to build, we crafted a smaller version in the class, which the children could take back to enjoy in their outdoor classroom.
“Incorporating sustainable elements into your garden design, as we’ve done in CALA’s nectar garden, needn’t be a huge undertaking. Even small steps – like reserving a corner of the garden to pollinators, sowing wildflower seeds, or even letting your lawn grow a little longer – will all help to support the UK’s biodiversity.”
Returning home with some tips of their own, the children also came away from the lesson with their own sunflower seeds, a garden tool kit and activity pack for them to enjoy over the summer holidays, supplied by CALA.
St Edburg’s Head Teacher, Margaret Kunzer, said the project provided a valuable experience for the children:
“It was lovely to see our children so enthused about the lesson and enjoying the nectar garden. As we’re looking towards our Silver-accreditation for the Green Flag awards – which recognise sustainable best practice in schools – we really want to create a big focus on the environment in the school next year as part of our new curriculum.
Margaret added: “Learning about nature and wildlife is hugely important, and we really want our children to grow up to be the future custodians of the countryside. That’s why we set up an Eco Warriors group, to take part in initiatives such as CALA’s.
“We’d like to thank the CALA team at Kingsmere for their support with the students and for the positive changes they’ve made on site to support welfare, wildlife and encourage biodiversity.”
Neil Simpson, Sales and Marketing Director at CALA Homes Midlands, adds: “We were pleased to be able to support St Edburg’s in providing them with the outdoor lesson and the activity kits.
“This initiative forms part of our wider sustainability strategy, which isn’t just limited to reducing carbon and our environmental impact, but also in supporting people and communities surrounding our developments.
“Through initiatives such as this, or through our charity partnerships, we always strive to ensure we make a positive impact on the communities in which we operate.”
The visit followed CALA’s recent donation to the school – a reading arbour – so children can enjoy a book in their new outdoor eco-classroom.