Pupils from Orritor, Moneymore, Phoenix and Donaghey Primary Schools are buzzing with delight having recently discovered that they have been chosen to help to protect the dwindling population of Britain’s pollinating insects.
As four of the schools selected for the UK-wide ‘Polli:Nation’ programme, the pupils will now transform their outdoor spaces to become pollinator-friendly habitats, with the support of the national school grounds charity, Learning through Landscapes.
Having submitted a joint application as a school ‘cluster’ back in October 2015, the schools were named as three out of 260 across the UK, that have been chosen to participate in the unique programme.
The schools’ joint application demonstrated their plans of action, the strength of their commitment to the project and the quality of collaboration, both with each other and the wider community.
Their application was reviewed and selected as an exceptional submission, resulting in their involvement in the programme.
Over a period of three years, each of the schools will now be supported by a Polli:Nation facilitator from Learning through Landscapes- the national school grounds charity responsible for the project.
Linking to the National Pollinator Strategy, schools will now explore how they might: Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees, Let it grow wild, Cut grass less often, Don’t disturb insect nests and hibernation spots and Think carefully about whether to use pesticides.
Once the project is fully underway, the schools will also have the opportunity to contribute vital data in a UK-wide pollinator survey from OPAL Imperial College London.
Mr K. Wright at Orritor Primary School explained: “We are absolutely thrilled to be a part of this project and honoured to be making a contribution to such important research.
“Not only does Polli:Nation offer the children a fantastic opportunity to develop their own environment to aid the declining population of pollinators, it also offers the perfect platform to consider our environment and pesticides on a global scale - whilst also involving members of the local community.”
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The Polli:Nation project has been developed by Learning through Landscapes in association with sector partners The Field Studies Council, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation, OPAL Imperial College London, Stirling University, Bumblebee Conservation Trust and The Conservation Volunteers.
David Hodd, the Project Manager of Learning through Landscapes adds: “It is critical that we address the declining numbers of pollinating insects in Britain, and the support of schools and communities in the Mid Ulster area will certainly contribute to the overall success of the Polli:Nation programme. We look forward to seeing the final results of the school’s projects!”