Thanks to the funding from Surrey Hills Society, two local schools, the Howard of Effingham and Manor House received £500 each towards improving their school grounds for nature.
Howard of Effingham
Surrey Wildlife Trust worked with the Howard of Effingham’s Green Armada group to explore their grounds and find ways in which they wanted to help wildlife with the funding.
In the winter, students used their design and technology skills to create bird boxes. They worked in pairs to hammer the pieces together like a puzzle. Later in the year, they were put up around the school, on trees and by hedgerows. The students were excited to see birds interested in their creations soon after they were put up!
Students decided ‘No Mow’ zones were needed and were granted permission to leave a quiet zone full of long grass throughout spring and summer.
With the funding, they purchased hearts and painted them blue (in line with the nationwide Blue Heart campaign) to show the school community why the grass was being left, along with some plug plants to make the space more diverse of plant life.
Funding was also used to buy a small pond for the sixth form area, which the Green Armada looks after. The students got stuck in and dug the pond themselves, measuring the space, working as a team, and collecting materials to surround the small pond.
Later in the school term, they even saw a newt had moved in!
Students sowed pollinator friendly seeds in peat free compost, with the sunflowers doing the best in the summer drought.
Finally, funding was used to purchase a water butt to help save water. The group wouldn’t have had the opportunities they did this year without the funding from the Surrey Hills Society.
Manor House School
A variety of year groups got involved with helping nature at Manor House School, thanks to the funding from the Surrey Hills Society.
The school left a ‘No Mow’ zone by the school pick up space and used the funding to create blue hearts for interpretation of the space.
There was a school wide competition to design the blues hearts and the winners were chosen by the school council and given lavender plants to take home and help pollinators where they live. As the summer continues a variety of plant species appeared, including an orchid!
Year 2 planted pollinator friendly seeds, which they looked after for the summer term. The hope is that these will be planted in a new pollinator friendly flower bed!
Year 2 also created bee homes, hammering pieces together and filling with bamboo. These will be placed in a sunny spot next year close to flowers. Year 3 sowed woodland wildflower seeds in a small area to help encourage more diversity for wildlife.
The funding from the Surrey Hills Society helped to engage a variety of year groups with nature, for both curriculum and non-curriculum sessions, and inspire them to take action at home. A student later built a bucket pond!
Lizzie Foster, Team Wilder Engagement Officer, Surrey Wildlife Trust