Bristol kids are sowing the seeds to create not one, not two but ten colourful new nature reserves in school grounds across the region for the West’s pollinators.
It’s all part of the unique ‘Avon Schools Nature Reserve’ project to transform over 500m2 of green space in the West of England, and right across the region, by creating mini reserves in 10 primary and secondary schools funded by Mayor Dan Norris’s Mayoral Combined Authority.
Over the next 12 months, the project to turn each ground into a gorgeous community nature reserve helping the West’s busy bugs will see 300 pupils help plant thousands of flowers including cornflower, poppy and knapweed, three bee favourites, trees, native shrubs as well as bug hotels, bee logs and more.
Participating schools include Ashton Park Primary in Bower Ashton and Fair Furlong in Withywood.
Mayor Norris joined green-fingered pupils in rolling up their sleeves armed with spades and trowels to work on the 50msq Avonmouth Primary nature reserve Avonmouth, including planting shrubs and building a bench taking pride of place in the pollinator’s paradise. He said: “It is exciting to see this vital project come together. We are not just building the Avon Schools Nature Reserve for us but for the region’s bees, moths, damselflies and other gardener’s friends who make sure our crops are pollinated and we have delicious West of England produce to eat and drink year-round. In short – pollinators matter.”
Nature Connection, who are leading the project, are also helping parents and teachers to maintain the nature reserves and teaching staff how to include nature-based lessons to teach pupils the importance of looking after the region’s food heroes through bee-friendly actions. They have even helped develop an eco-curriculum to tie it all together and offer it for free to any and every school in the West at www.MinistryofEco.org
Metro Mayor Dan Norris added: “If we are going to not just make the West of England the bee and pollinator capital of the whole country, but to maintain that position as well, that means equipping the next generation with the skills and knowledge to look after nature. That’s what the Avon Schools Nature Reserve is all about. I’m proud my Mayoral Authority is investing in projects to make our amazing West of England an even better place for locals and pollinators alike to call home”.
Each school will join the Avon Schools Eco Network with opportunities for students and teachers alike to get together in each other’s nature reserve, and share best practice, keeping schools across the West of England linked together.