Pupils from 17 schools across Aberdeen City and Shire are closer to nature thanks to a partnership between the RSPB and Aldi and even more schools and nurseries are being encouraged to get involved in 2017.
The partnership sees RSPB-trained educators going into schools and nurseries and working with teachers and pupils in their school grounds to deliver a series of fun and engaging outreach sessions linked to the curriculum for excellence.
In Aberdeen, these outreach sessions began in earnest in August 2016. Since then 32 successful sessions, delivered by RSPB Scotland staff and volunteers, have seen more than 1000 children become better connected with nature. This includes 132 pupils from five classes at Skene Square School.
The first visit to Skene Square School was in September 2016, where a group of P6 pupils became nature detectives for the day, discovering and identifying a variety of animals and plants during a bioblitz of their school grounds. RSPB Scotland returned later that month to visit the P7s who spent the morning mapping out their school grounds and identifying different existing habitats and spotting opportunities to create more homes for nature.
One of the teachers from Skene Square School said: “It was fantastic that the children had the chance to explore their surroundings and realise that nature still lives here even though the playground is mostly concrete.”
Then in November, in preparation for January’s Big Schools Birdwatch, two P2 classes spent a session learning to identify and name a variety of common birds and to recognise the type of safe environment and habitat that may attract more birds to their grounds.
Miss Findlay, deputy headteacher at Skene Square, said the children really benefited from the experience: “All of the age groups enjoyed the activities they participated in.
They brought the playground alive and made the children very enthusiastic to continue to improve the area for wildlife.”
In fact the school enjoyed the sessions so much that they have already booked more sessions in 2017.