Andy Smith of Harbinger Primary School writes:
Last year, Harbinger Primary School was awarded a Tower Habitats biodiversity grant from the Tower Hill Trust, with the aim of improving our grounds for wildlife and environmental education.
The two key elements of the project were to enhance wildlife habitats in and around our pond, and to put up boxes (like the sparrow terrace in the photo left) to attract birds, bats and insects to the school. We now have most of this in place, though, due to problems with foxes and latterly with delays due to the Coronavirus emergency, we still have a bit of work to do around the pond. Perhaps most importantly, we now have a group of very passionate Year Five children who have started a Wildlife Club.
We planted native plants in the pond as recommended. Then, over the February half-term the pond was drained by a contactor and the fish were removed. They are aiming to replant and re-stock with native species over the summer.
We installed three planters nearby and planted native bee-attracting seeds. These were dug up by our local foxes, so we planted more established plants which were also taken by the foxes. We will come back to this after the current unscheduled break.
As we were having fox battles with the planters by the pond, we put the remaining planters against the entrance way to the school. They have thrived (see photo left) and contain plants such as wild garlic, herbs and grasses. We are letting the plants grow at their own pace and allowing them to flower and seed. We also planted five containers for vegetables which we have harvested and the parents have cooked with, as well as allowing a few to bolt and produce seeds.
The Wildlife Club maintain all of this and have thoroughly enjoyed planting and improving our grounds. They have taken one of the planters and use it as their own eco-experimentation area – mostly digging and planting as far as I can tell!
All photos by Andy Smith