The Countryside Team encourages
children to learn about their local nature reserves through maintaining links with local youth groups and schools. On Epsom Common, Horton Country Park and the Hogsmill Local Nature Reserves we offer a range of educational activities for local youth groups and help schools create wildlife areas within their school grounds.
Educational Activities For Local Youth Groups
We offer a range of activities, from guided walks to habitat studies and environmental games, tailored to meet the needs of the youth group concerned.
Examples of Activities include:
- Habitat Studies: Terrestrial studies and aquatic studies such as pond dipping and mini-beast hunting
- Land Use Studies: Assessing the impact of visitors on wildlife
- Environmental Games: Predator/Prey, Bat and Moth and many more.
We can supply all the equipment necessary for the activities. We provide pens/pencils and paper where necessary. We also have a supply of clipboards available, along with several microscopes, trays, petri dishes, pond dipping nets and other equipment for use during field studies.
If you are thinking of arranging a visit you can phone us on 01372 732000 to discuss your requirements or send us an email. However, please note that our service is generally limited to the months of May and June so please book us in advance!
Local Schools Wildlife Areas
We currently work with a number of local schools to advise them on creating and maintaining wildlife areas in their school grounds. Working in conjunction with Ecolocal in Sutton, we help schools improve their grounds by planning and creating wildlife areas and outdoor classrooms. The gardens are always planned in consultation with school pupils who play an active part in the garden's creation and maintenance.
As well as ensuring schools plant a variety of native plants that attract local wildlife, wildlife areas can include many other features. Examples include:
- Herb gardens
- Vegetable patches
- Sensory areas (with plants with distinctive scents, colours and textures)
- Ponds and bog gardens
- Wildlife feeding stations
- Habitat piles (eg log piles)
- Animal homes (eg bird boxes, insect boxes).
As well as creating important habitats for wildlife in urban areas, where sources of food and shelter are often scarce, a wildlife area within the school grounds can also be used regularly as an outdoor classroom. Here pupils can participate in a wide variety of habitat/nature studies allowing children to experience local wildlife first in a safe and conveniently located environment. Indeed, such areas can provide a pleasant environment in which any subject can be taught.
Surrey School Grounds Forum
The Council is also a member of the Surrey School Grounds Forum. The Forum consists of organisations and individuals involved with environmental education and enhancement projects in school grounds. They meet regularly to exchange information and ideas, and provide a coordinated approach to assisting schools.
Work with the Surrey School Grounds Forum has lead us to become involved with the Eco-schools Programme. As Eco-School advisers we can assist schools in reducing their overall environmental impact and attain their Green Flag!