This rural primary school is constructing a brand new environmental educational garden. A small pond and wildlife area at the school had fallen into disrepair and was inaccessible. The main goal for this project is to transform the neglected area into an innovative and abundant wildlife garden.

About the Community Project:

An outdoor educational space for all

Buckland St Mary Primary School, in the centre of the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a small school with big visions for the future. With financial support and advice from the Blackdown Hills Natural Futures project and the Sustainable Development Fund these visions are becoming a reality, bringing new life to a neglected site.

The aim is to create a great location in which to learn, but also a tranquil place to relax and enjoy nature. This new educational resource will all the children to gain hands on experiences and close interactions with plants, trees, birds, amphibians and insects. There will also be the opportunity for children to learn about growing vegetables and sustainable water use by collecting rain water from the school buildings. In the wildlife garden, the school plans to host forest-school activities and guided nature walks. It is hoped that the wildlife garden will not only benefit the school children, but also the wider community of Buckland St Mary. Importantly, it will also provide a valuable new habitat for wildlife.

Sense of community

The head teacher at Buckland St Mary has witnessed a wonderful sense of community enthusiasm developing, many hours of voluntary time has already been invested as well as donation of equipment.  It is hoped that, as the project continues, it will bring together the local community and connect people from all walks of life by creating one communal space; there is a sense of this being achieved already.

Getting the work underway

Funding received from Blackdown Hills AONB has already allowed the school to hire in a landscape designer to create formal plans. The next steps begin with relocating the pond, creating a dipping platform for educational activities, installing a ‘pop-up’ shelter so outdoor activities can take place when it is raining, building a raised bed for growing herbs and vegetables, hedgerow improvements and much, much more.

Can you help?

The school is seeking new volunteers who are keen to help in the construction and on-going maintenance of Buckland St Mary School wildlife garden. The first task is the renovation of the pond and surrounding nature area. If you would like to get involved, please contact the school directly. Anyone with spare time to offer or expert skills is welcome.

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