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Sampling the biodiversity in our school grounds

We have been lucky enough to have access to some land next to our school. This land contains a variety of habitats, unimproved grassland, ponds and stands of woodland. We are trying to source funds in order to fully exercise the use of this land in the future, for the school, local community and regional schools in environmental education and stewardship.

The initial part of our project involved:

  • Developing a method for valuing the habitats and species found and use this to survey the land parcel and award a numerical value for its biodiversity. This will provide a means for measuring any improvement resulting from further initiatives that we will implement.
  • With the support of the local Bat Group, undertake fixed and mobile monitoring to survey and identify bat species in our area and analyse the data collected.
  • Survey and identify mammals using visual observations of signs, camera traps, footprint tunnels and small mammal live trappings.
  • Identify and survey bird species using ID books, binoculars and a parabolic microphone. With support from the local ringing group, we will hold bird ringing demonstrations and monitor bird boxes with the aim of ringing the chicks.
  • We will carry out a variety of secondary research and use expert ecologists, to identify what makes the site attractive to wildlife and investigate ways this can be improved further. We will regularly monitor the site and apply our habitat valuation scale to evaluate the impact of any of our actions on increasing biodiversity in our site for example through creating insect hotels, bird nest boxes, hedgehog houses and log piles for amphibians.

The second part of the project involves stewardship, maintenance and increasing the accessibility of the work within community projects and the primary curriculum.

This will involve:

  • Accessibility, walkways and storage/waste facilities: matched funding will be sought and arranged through the school council and Mantle of the Expert projects so that children can drive the ethos and environmental concerns that define and purpose of the site, with a view of education in environmental stewardship
  • Development of hides and covered zones for observation. Storage, waste and viewing facilities will be constructed to ensure seasonal access. In addition, a minimal system of access paths will be constructed, developed from complimentary and environmentally appropriate materials
  • Comparison of local landuse practices with the relatively untouched areas around school. Children will be able to assess farming practices, aggregate extraction, land reclamation and forestry practices in the locale as a means of assessing human impact on our local landscape
  • Each year, a group of children will complete environmental recording in order to assess the impact and success of a variety of human and natural processes on the landscape- this will provide a legacy of information for subsequent classes, at Grimley, surrounding schools and the local community.
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