Hedgehog hotel in Flintshire school

It’s a wildlife haven with a difference featuring a hedgehog hotel, a nectar café and even bijou apartments for birds – and it’s been created at a Flintshire school.

Rural regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd are behind a new outdoor classroom and wild garden at Ysgol Bro Carmel, near Holywell, and pupils, teachers and parents are reaping the reward.

Their fantastic new wildlife garden includes a large pond and wetland area, a nectar cafe for insects, a hedgehog hotel, bird boxes and an array of different plants and wild flowers.

Headteacher Jo Garbutt said the completion of the project, which the school has planned for months with the help of the North Wales Wildlife Trust, would have been impossible without the
help of Cadwyn Clwyd.

The Ruthin-based agency provided more than £10,000 to the wildlife garden and the school itself raised £3,500 towards the wildlife wonderland.

Cadwyn Clwyd’s contribution came from the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2007-2013, which
is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.

Mrs Garbutt said: “The funding from Cadwyn Clwyd has made an enormous difference. We couldn’t have achieved this without them.”

She added: “The outdoor classroom is a huge benefit to both the school and our local community groups. It enables children to gain a wealth of first hand experiential learning experiences which
will greatly enhance their learning and it enables the teachers to provide an even higher standard of teaching and learning.

“Children will benefit in so many ways educationally and environmentally at the same time as having fun outdoors!”

William James, 10, is a very keen young gardener and an active member of the after school club which helps maintain the new wildlife space.

He said: “I am looking forward to seeing things grow and we made a hedgehog house under the compost heap and I am really hoping to see one because I have never seen one before.”

Sarah Jones, Environment and Heritage Officer for Cadwyn Clwyd, said some of the major digging for the new garden was completed during the summer holidays but much of the hard work had been done by the school since the beginning of the new term, with the help of Cadwyn Clwyd and workshops run by the North Wales Wildlife Trust.

She said: “In a very short space of time, the school has achieved a lot, creating a fantastic, new learning resource and a wonderful habitat for all sorts of creatures and plants.

“It is amazing how much the children absorb about wildlife, learning in this way and it is good to see them putting things they have learnt in the classroom into practice.

“It is also a fantastic way of enhancing the local environment and protecting it for future generations to come.”

Iwan Edwards, Wildlife Gardening Officer at the North Wales Wildlife Trust, said almost every child in the school had played their part in nurturing the new garden which was a flagship project for his trust.

He said: “The project has provided every child in the school with an opportunity to learn about important issues which will become increasingly prominent in their lives as adults.

“We are effectively teaching the next generation about the significance of biodiversity, teaching them how to care for their environment in a way that is better than the previous generation.

“The children will be able to take part in outdoor learning and gain real experiences in the outdoor environment. They will learn about wildlife through activities such as pond dipping, managing a
wildflower meadow, studying flying insects and bug hunting.

“And they will be watching a garden develop over time – which is an education in itself.”

Cadwyn Clwyd continues to look for innovative projects to support which help safeguard the area’s natural, cultural and heritage assets and maximise their economic potential for local businesses and communities.

To find out more or share your idea for a project call 01824 705802 or email sarah.jones@cadwynclwyd.co.uk

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