We have a 50 strong team of children - the Environment Team Monitors- who are committed and passionate about our project, keeping it maintained on a daily basis. They have important jobs such as: monitoring and recording wildlife in the garden, filling up bird feeders in the winter months, caring for the garden, collecting and composting food waste from KS1 classrooms, watering the greenhouse plants, caring for our hens and collecting their eggs and taking them to the school kitchen, collecting dead leaves/plants for composting, monitoring the compost area, monitoring the Global Food garden and harvesting produce – some is eaten fresh off the bush, some is taken home, some is sold to our families at a very low cost and some is utilised by the Cooking Club.
The benefits are profound. Children are growing up loving their natural environment and gardening. They are growing up with an inherent respect for their natural environment and realising, first hand, the inter-dependence that we have with our natural world. They are learning to love all the creatures that live in the garden and understand that worms are amazingly good for our soil and help our plants grow.
They now appreciate that bees are essential pollinators and we should not be scared of them, instead admire them for helping to grow our fruits and veg. They understand that positive action creates a positive reaction and have witnessed the garden flourish with wildlife through the creation of habitats and planting. They respect the important role of native flowers in providing nectar for our much needed insects.
Children have gained confidences and new skills in activities and essential life skills that, without this project, they would not have the opportunity to do.
Many adults have also had the same opportunities. Hundreds of volunteers from all backgrounds, ages and abilities have helped with this project over the years. All have been inspired and enjoyed their time at Pooles Park.
This project has been able to unite our wonderfully diverse community on a common theme - Gardening for Wildlife and Us. We have a great time in the garden, taking part in positive, productive hands on activities which benefit us, the natural environment and wildlife.
Generations of families have been and are still enjoying this project with the longer term impacts currently being explored by an undergraduate degree student from Kings College, who is researching the wider benefits that being part of a primary school project like this has on people’s lives.