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Newt Rescue Project

Bredon Hill Academy Newt Rescue Project    

Our wildlife garden is home to a wide variety of species, providing an oasis of quiet and calm, a vision of colour, filled with bird song and insects buzzing. This place for peaceful contemplation amidst the lively school environment is hugely beneficial to students and staff. However our pond leaked, held little water and was in urgent need of repair. We applied for a grant from the Tesco “bags of help” scheme to renovate the habitat for the resident newts, dragon flies and other pond life. Customers from the local community voted to award funding to our project which is now completed.

Our plan included improving the area to increase biodiversity, creating a variety of habitats and making a feature of our pond and swamp.

 Our pond is now full of water and aquatic life and the perimeter of the pond has been improved to allow pupils to investigate safely. Natural logs have been installed to provide seating for an entire class to enable lessons to take place in the area and also provide a habitat for insects. The swamp has been improved and made a feature of. We have installed bird, bat, bug, bee and hedgehog houses to increase biodiversity. Wildlife cameras and bird hides enable monitoring of the area and we look forward to sharing the results with the community.

We have improved our management of the area by making a more efficient composting and water collection system and our animal area has been improved with a new large vermin and weather proof enclosure.

Our eco committee were involved in the planning and monitoring of the area and discussed the improvements with the Environment agency work party who kindly volunteered to carry out some of the more difficult physical tasks. Pupils worked hard at lunchtime, enrichment afternoons and at our after school garden club to preserve and improve the habitat; digging, planting, weeding, pruning, composting and barrowing and numerous other tasks.

The pond is an important habitat and its preservation is vital, it is the only standing water for some distance. It is home to newts, frogs, caddisflies, dragon and damselflies and many other species. We have seen evidence of hedgehogs, snakes, deer, badgers, a fox, birds, bats, bees and other insects in the area and would like to ensure the growth and survival of these creatures and the infrastructure which supports them.

Many subjects use the area as a learning resource and pupils test and monitor the conditions in science lessons. Pupils enjoy the peace and tranquility at lunchtime and investigate using pocket microscopes and binoculars provided as part of the project. The maintenance needed promotes physical activity and improves wellbeing.

We received this grant because our whole school respects and cares for our school environment and the wildlife we share the space with. The school community are proud to be home to so many species and feel we must do our best to protect the habitat. Our consideration for the way we act in our wildlife area and gardens ensures that they are quiet calm areas where nature can thrive. We look forward to showing the area to visitors at the Ashton Open Garden event next summer.

The project would not have been possible without the kind assistance of volunteers from the local community who carried out many tasks which were far too physically demanding for pupils. An Environmental Agency work party spent an entire day clearing debris from the pond, transferring any life to the swamp, in addition to creating a fire pit circle and clearing huge brambles from our new composting site.

Local villagers spent a day installing the pond liner with the help of a tractor which also moved our feature boulders into place. Villagers spent another afternoon preparing the liner for our dipping pond which was built by pupils.

We had huge logs donated, delivered and put in place by tractor and trucks from three local businesses and many hours of help with moving tons of stone from an enthusiastic local gardener.

We are hugely grateful and appreciative for all the help and assistance from pupils, parents, staff and volunteers also for the generous discounts given to us by suppliers- Jessops, Carson, Golls Aquatics, Bull barrows Straight Ltd and Stone warehouse.

Thank you especially to the following for their time and assistance:

Justin Harber, John Kenrick, Martin Everett and the Environment Agency work party, Kim Taylor, Frank Moore, David Hunter, Simon Sellick, Stuart Wilson from Cotswold Drainage, Sam Cope, Ed Spiers and James Nicklin from the Under the Hill Festival, Bruce Rands, Will Archer.

Link to gallery of images.