“… so they can have a better home than before” explains a pupil taking part in a local environmental project funded by the UWE Bristol Community Fund.
Bug hotels, bird boxes, bogs, stone mounds and log piles are just some of the new homes for wildlife being created by children from Park Primary school.
Students from UWE Bristol and pupils from the school are renovating a neglected area of Kingswood Park in East Bristol. Together they’re creating a nature area to support local biodiversity.
After an initial audit of existing nature in the area, design work began to plan new homes for wildlife. Over the summer work parties have been busy clearing pathways, removing brambles, digging out a bog and planting hedgerows and wildflowers. There are also plans for a tree trail from school to the park.
Encouraging children to value nature
Hayley, who’s studying BSc Hons Environmental Science at UWE Bristol, is one of the students who volunteered their time to get stuck in creating and improving habitats with the children. She lives locally and was keen to get involved in a project which engages the community in looking after the nature around them.
“If you want people to care about nature, you have to first make them aware of it.”says Hayley.
The project has involved the entire school of 530 children, from wheelbarrow pushing 5-year olds to skilled secateurs users from year 6. They’re proud of their transformation of this part of the local park.
“Before children didn’t want to come here, but now they are asking their parents to come here all the time.”Addison, Park Primary School Year 6 pupil
Building confidence through outdoor learning
Kelly Goodfellow, Senior Neurodiversity Practitioner at UWE Bristol saw an opportunity to help build children’s confidence through outdoor learning. Working with Kirstin Whitney, outdoor learning expert and teacher at Kingswood Park School, Kelly devised the project specifically to support children with a neurodiverse profile, who do not necessarily ‘shine’ in the classroom-based learning environment.
Outdoor learning is proven to develop children’s self-esteem, cooperation and creativity. Children are given the freedom which empowers them to be forward thinking, problem solving, independent decision makers.
Making university an achievable goal
Kingswood Primary is in an urban area of South Gloucestershire bordering Bristol, identified as a disadvantaged community. The UWE Bristol Community Fund prioritises projects where students will work with young people in areas with low progression into higher education.
The project has brought positive role models from UWE Bristol into contact with the pupils and the community of Kingswood.
“The experiences and relationships it has created are an important step towards making university education an achievable future goal for pupils,”Kelly says.
The future of the project
A year 6 pupil reflects on how the project will continue to evolve –
“We’re looking forward to carrying on the work over the coming years and keeping a record of the insects, amphibians, spiders and mammals that we find. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we do”.
Find out more about the project by watching this film made by the school.
The Community Fund is part of the UWE Bristol Fund.
To find out more and to donate, visit our UWE Bristol Fund webpages.