STO takes a look at two education centres run by the Avon Wildlife Trust, a charity that works to protect wildlife in the West of England area.
The Avon Wildlife Trust cares for 36 nature reserves, from ancient bluebell woods to Iron Age forts, nationally important wetlands, and wildflower meadows. It also runs a number of award-winning educational and community programmes.
The trust has been delivering education programmes for 25 years and offers out-of-the-classroom learning, delivered by its own teaching staff. All of the curriculum-linked programmes on offer aim to encourage young people to respect and engage with wildlife and nature.
Two locations that teachers can consider for outdoor learning opportunities are Folly Farm and Feed Bristol. There are fully equipped environmental learning centres at both locations and a selection of workshops to choose from.
Folly Farm is a 250-acre nature reserve situated in the heart of the Chew Valley. School groups can take a day visit, or opt to stay in the restored 18th century farmhouse on a residential field trip.
Workshop examples include Teddy Bears’ Picnic and Brilliant Birds for Key Stage 1, and Sustainability and Conservation and Home Sweet Home for Key Stage 2.
The Teddy Bear’s Picnic will see school children take part in a sensory earth-walk to discover what all animals need to survive; build a woodland shelter; and learn how Folly’s woodland creatures prepare for and survive through the winter.
The Brilliant Birds session, meanwhile, focuses on what dangers baby birds face on their journey from egg to ‘flying the nest’. Children will get to make their own nests and willow bird feeders.
Sustainability and Conservation explores the impacts of food production, waste generation, electricity and water use. Pupils will find out why nature has the best recycling system and how Folly Farm works with the natural world to be more sustainable.
Home Sweet Home, meanwhile, is a session all about habitats, and investigates which species of animal live where.
Feed Bristol, a community food growing project in Stapleton, is the Avon Wildlife Trust’s centre for food growth and ecology. At this six-acre site, children can delve into wildlife-friendly gardens and growing spaces to discover plant growth and food production.
Early Years and Key Stage 1 pupils can take part in sessions called Growing Delights and Happy Habitats. Growing Delights looks at the world of trees, plants and vegetables in living landscapes, while Happy Habitats explores and contrasts different habitats to allow pupils to get to know why their inhabitants live there.
Key Stage 2 pupils can enjoy a session called Growing Detectives to delve into the plant kingdom, learning about the structure and function of plants and discovering their relationships with pests and pollinators. Alternatively, during Hands on Habitats – also for Key Stage 2 – children can work scientifically to examine the Feed Bristol woodland, meadow and kitchen garden, classifying and making connections between plants as they go.
How to make a school booking
Teachers interested in booking a visit to Folly Farm or Feed Bristol should call 0117-917 7270 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information visit www.avonwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildschools.