All Saints pupils appeal to wildlife; Eco-Challenge is just the job for school pupils: who want to make a difference to the environment.
BIRDS, bats and bees will find a good home at a Tyneside school thanks to the efforts of pupils.
Students from All Saints College in South West Denton, Newcastle, have been taking part in an Eco-Challenge.
As part of their project they have worked to make the grounds of the school more appealing to wildlife which might be living nearby.
With the help of staff from the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, a conservation charity based in Gosforth, Newcastle, they have worked to make a difference to their environment which will last into the future.
The Eco-Challenge started last year, when pupils took part in a field trip with the Field Studies Council (FSC).
The FSC then asked Northumberland Wildlife Trust if it would work with the school on its Eco-Challenge.
A total of 30 students from Years Seven and Eight have been taking part.
The three-part challenge involved pupils working with the trust to increase recycling at the school and make the grounds more attractive to wildlife through planting and building bird and bat boxes as shelter. They came up with ideas to cut waste and increase recycling.
Then the youngsters planted bulbs, flowers and herbs in the school grounds to entice creatures to visit.
Wildflowers, a variety of herbs and strawberry bushes were among the plants put in to attract insects, birds and larger creatures.
Then the pupils created their own bird and bat boxes to provide shelter for any visiting wildlife.
Lesley Robinson, student manager for Year Seven, said the planting was done on a patch of waste ground next to the school which was donated by supermarket Morrisons.
She said staff were looking at the possibility of making a bigger wildlife and conservation area on the site.
She said: "As well as helping the environment the idea was to make the area look nicer and attract wildlife into the grounds.
"The students really enjoyed the planting, they all got muddy. I don't think a lot of them get the chance to plant things at home, so it was nice for them to take part."
Kirsty Pollard, people and wildlife officer for Northumberland Wildlife Trust, who worked with the school on the project, said: "The students came up with some really good ideas for recycling, like putting bins in the canteen for things like mobile phones and Christmas cards.
"Once we had made the bird and bat boxes we talked about how we can tell there is wildlife in the area. We discussed looking for signs of different animals and how to take plaster casts of their tracks.
"I think this is a good age group and one which is often missed out for outdoor education.
We tend to work more with primary schools, so it's nice to get into secondary schools and do some work with them.
"It is good to give the pupils hands-on experience that they might be able to use in their future careers or put to use in their own gardens.
"We started with quite a muddy patch of ground, with weeds growing on it. They got stuck in and made such a difference.
It's nice they will be able to see the difference through the years, as things change, and see the impact they have made on the area."
Northumberland Wildlife Trust is the largest environmental charity in the region working to protect native wildlife.
One of 47 wildlife trusts across the UK, Northumberland Wildlife Trust has campaigned for nature conservation for over 40 years and aims to inform, educate and involve people of all ages in protecting their environment. Our award-winning environment campaign, Go Green, is now three years old. We want to highlight good work being done around the North East, by people of all ages, which promotes conservation, as well as our campaign motto "Recycle, Reuse, Reduce".
Launched in April 2007, Go Green is supported by partners including Scottish and Southern Energy, Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, North Tyneside Council, Nexus, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Northumbrian Water, Sita UK, Eaga, the Environment Agency, Newcastle Airport, Graphite Resources, Natural England and the Energy Saving Trust.
If you have been taking part in a green activity, or have an event coming up and would like some publicity, email firstname.lastname@example.org
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Jemaine Havery, pictured through the entrance to one of the bird boxes NAILED ON: From left, Amber Boyd, Jamie-Lee Bruce and Elle Temple, from All Saints College ECO-FRIENDLY: Steven Ellwood and Rachel Andrews from All Saints College have been making bird boxes