Visit the Schools Reports page on the website every friday to find out what schools in the Bird Box project are doing to develop their school grounds and give nature a home.
Would your school like to share what it is doing to promote wildlife? Send a short report and small selection of photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Warren Wood Primary
From Small Beginnings...
It all started as a low-key project for my class, linked to our bird-themed book corner and the feeding station I'd set up outside the classroom. The Head had spotted an e-mail about a Bird Box Project and thought I might be interested in taking part. The parcel duly arrived and we unwrapped our new bird box together. The children were instantly hooked. Where would it go? What would nest in it? How would we see inside? We spoke nicely to the caretaker and IT technician who, between them, had everything up and running in no time. Seeing the inside of our bird box, which was positioned just outside our classroom, on the interactive whiteboard in class, was a big moment.
In order to keep the momentum going, we tried making our own nests from whatever we could collect in the school grounds. New respect to birds after the children tried this! How great were the birds, who could do with a beak and two feet what we couldn't do with our 'superior' hands.
Other classes became involved through the live link set up on a screen in the centre of the school. Children and staff walked past it several times each day and stopped to see what was happening. Question after question came from children and staff alike: What was nesting there? When would the eggs hatch? Where was the nest box? Could they watch it at home so as not to miss anything?
Details of the website were sent out via the newsletter and a link to the site was set up from the homepage of the school's website. Children started watching at home along with family and friends and reports came in of parents watching at work too! In the school hall, I set up a Bird Box Project display board with a photo story showing the latest developments from the box. 'The bird box' became the talk of the school. It seemed like everyone was following 'our' blue tits. My retired parents took it upon themselves to keep vigil and message me with any developments that they thought I might have missed.
In class, we kept the site minimised on the whiteboard and were able to check regularly on the activity in the box: the thrill of a nest being built, the excitement of the first egg, hatching eggs, chicks being fed and finally fledging. Our lessons began to be based around the project and the children just wanted to learn more and more.
All too soon the last of our ten chicks fledged. It was a bit like finishing a good book and feeling a bit deflated that you'd read the last chapter. In the words of one of the children, "I'm really going to miss them."
Well, that was 2015. It's now March 2016 and, hopefully, here we go again!
Helen Stenhouse - Warren Wood Primary School, Medway