School Travel Organiser finds out more about the Ezone in Dudley, which offers skill development and independent learning opportunities for Early Years to Key Stage 4.
LOtC Quality Badge holder The Environment Zone (Ezone) was created when Roberts Primary School was rebuilt at the end of the 1990s, as part of the bid to obtain funding for the school rebuild.
15 years later, the centre hosts regular educational visits from pupils studying nature and the environment.
The centre features a four-acre nature trail with a pond and several different habitat areas, a sensory garden, and a wind turbine, which was installed in 2006.
“The wind turbine has an instant wow factor,” said Guy de Szathmary, environmental education officer at Ezone. “It automatically starts a conversation on renewable energy; in fact, school pupils are encouraged to ‘hug’ the wind turbine!”
For all visits, the centre offers support and advice relating to the curriculum, and guidance and advice on working towards the ECO-SCHOOL Green Flag award.
Activities available at the centre include the following…
Children are encouraged to build a shelter for an animal. The session focuses on what makes a good shelter - warmth, safety, dryness and location. It will also encourage children to think where a real creature would live.
This programme enables children to experience apples in a different way. Apples are discussed – the role of the fruit in the process of the apple tree, and the parts of an apple. The children will then work through the various stages to produce their own apple juice. The juice is then be sampled and tasted.
For older year groups the topic of food miles can be incorporated. This will introduce children to the idea of how far away food comes from and the distances it travels to get to the UK.
This session provides children with the opportunity to learn how animals can be identified and assigned to groups. Pupils will investigate the animal kingdom and learn how it is divided up into two main groups; animals with backbones (vertebrates) and animals without backbones (invertebrates).
This workshop looks at the impact of humans on the planet and how it may affect changes in weather and climate patterns.
Pupils will find out about the small organisims that cause decay. They’ll look for evidence of natural materials e.g. leaf litter and grass cuttings which are decaying and contrast these with other waste materials that do not decay.
Working with a Severn Trent Water activity, pupils will learn about the journey of a drop of water through the water cycle. Children will explore how water is used in their daily lives and how they can consume it more sparingly.
They will also discuss where sewage comes from. They create a sewage soup and then learn about filtering and straining to clean up the water.
To find out more about the Ezone visit ezonemag.net.