Nick Donkin from EDP shows the children the reptiles
A group of students from a Worcestershire school recently had the chance to have a closer look at a range of reptiles that are being relocated to a specially designed new home in Pershore.
The Year 5 and 6 students from The River School visited The Vale Golf and Country Club in Pershore to learn all about the creatures that are being moved to the course from nearby Drakes Broughton, as part of a large reptile translocation project.
Parts of the course, which spans over 150 acres and includes areas of woodland, scrub and rough grassland, are being transformed into a new enriched habitat for the reptiles. The project is delivered through a partnership between housebuilder Bovis Homes, their environmental consultants The Environmental Dimension Partnership (EDP), ecological landscapers Three Shires Ltd and The Vale Golf Club.
“It was an excellent opportunity to bring education alive and take learning out of the classroom by getting outside and seeing it for real,” says Stephanie Boyd, teacher at The River School. “The children were filled with excitement and wonder, and were enamoured with the whole experience. They asked lots of questions and were really interested to find out more about the project.”
The translocation is part of a 10-year scheme, designed by EDP, which is being funded by Bovis Homes and delivered by Three Shires. Since April, over 350 slow worms and 65 grass snakes have been moved from a Bovis Homes location in Drakes Broughton to the course, which has been enhanced to create the perfect habitat for reptiles and other local wildlife.
The habitat enhancements taking place include the creation of wildflower meadows, woodland management for reptiles and invertebrates, and installing new places for wildlife to breed, hibernate and forage, including reptile log piles and shelters, bird boxes, a barn owl nest box, bat boxes and invertebrate habitat boxes.
•The River School students with (left to right): Stephanie Spry (Bovis Homes), Fiona Pessoa (Teacher at The River School), James Bird (EDP), Stephanie Boyd (Teacher at The River School), Annabel Cotton (EDP) and Nick Donkin (EDP)
The 10 and 11-year-olds were welcomed to The Vale Golf and Country Club by representatives from Bovis Homes and EDP. The students, who were all specially selected for having a passion for wildlife, learnt all about our native reptile species and the importance of biodiversity conservation, and had the chance to handle slow worms and juvenile grass snakes before releasing them back into the wild.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for the children to get up-close to an array of British wildlife and understand more about their habitats,” says regional marketing manager at Bovis Homes, Stephanie Spry. “The work taking place at The Vale is part of a 10-year project to ensure the area is maintained and kept as a wildlife haven for not only these reptiles, but also for a wide array of other creatures and vegetation.”
“The wildlife project taking place at the Vale provides a range of benefits to local wildlife most notably through the extensive habitat enhancement works that are taking place,” says Principal Ecologist at EDP, James Bird. “The event at the Vale was an excellent opportunity to teach local school children about the importance of our native reptiles and show them some of the ways they can help conservation through simple habitat creations in their own school grounds or back gardens.”