The Hunt is on for Surrey’s Wildest School Gardens!

Tuesday 7th June 2016

In the Garden

Surrey Wildlife Trust has joined forces with Squire’s Garden Centres to launch this year’s Schools Wildlife Garden Awards 2016. It’s free to enter and open to all schools in Surrey.

We want children to go out into their school grounds, get their hands dirty and think about what their school can do for wildlife. You don’t need a big dedicated wildlife garden to take part,” said the Trust’s Wildlife Gardening Officer Dawn Fielding. “Hedgerows, flower beds, small ponds and playing fields can all be fantastic havens for nature in schools.

Wildlife that was once common in our green spaces in now under serious threat. The British bee population has fallen by a third since 2007. In the last 10 years hedgehog numbers have fallen by 30% - they’re disappearing from our landscape as fast as tigers are worldwide. Many of our urban birds are also in decline - including the house sparrow and swift.

Sadly wildlife is being pushed out of many of Surrey’s gardens, as some people become less tolerant of weeds - using more pesticides and covering the ground with paving slabs, decking and gravel.

“Schools have an important part to play in our battle to save nature,” added Dawn. “School grounds can provide stepping stones throughout our towns and villages so that wildlife can move around.

“All schools can make space for nature and small changes can make a big difference. Making your school gardens a little bit wilder brings amazing rewards – not just for wildlife, but also for pupils. Children who engage with nature are happier, healthier and more creative – for some it can have a life-changing impact. ”

Last year’s winner was Lorraine School in Camberley, which has a wonderful wildlife garden run by volunteer gardener Victor Ludkin. Its garden included bug homes, bird houses, log piles, a pond, a wildflower meadow, fruit trees and a reptile hibernaculum.

The best wildlife friendly spaces offer food, water, shelter.

Here are some tips on how to make your school grounds a little bit wilder:

• Plant nectar-rich flowers to attract butterflies and bees
• Make a small pond or water feature to create a wildlife haven
• Create woodpiles for slow worms and invertebrates
• Build a compost heap to recycle your garden waste
• Put up a bird feeder and enjoy watching your new visitors
• Plant native shrubs and trees to provide berries and fruit

Sarah Squire, Deputy Chairman at Squire’s Garden Centres said: “The schools wildlife gardening competition is a great way to get children involved in gardening. Children have a natural curiosity and they’re interested in bugs, beasties and the natural world – the more wildlife gardening that we do in schools, the more we encourage the next generation into gardening to help all those wonderful species that live in our gardens.”

The competition is open from now until the end of July 2016 and the best garden will win a £50 Squire’s Gardening Centre voucher. Any school that qualifies will receive a bronze, silver or gold certificate declaring that its garden is officially a wildlife haven. Gold award winners will also be presented with a commemorative plaque.

Enter this year’s Surrey Wildlife Garden Awards >>

For further tips on how to turn your garden into a wildlife haven go to the Wild About Gardens website.

Wildlife gardening packs offering a host of good, simple ideas are also available through the Trust’s online shop for £6 each. 

 

Tagged with: Business, Events & Shows, Species, Wildlife gardening, Competition, Schools, Wildlife Gardening