Race to Kit Out Classrooms at Nower Wood!

Monday 13th February 2017

Nower Wood Education Centre takes shapeNower Wood Education Centre takes shape. Pic: Aimee Clarke

After months of mud, hard hats and diggers, Surrey Wildlife Trust’s brand new £1.1m education centre at Nower Wood is nearly ready to throw open its doors to visitors. The charity is now working against the clock to kit out the inside of the flagship building near Leatherhead before the first students arrive in the spring.

“We’re really excited that we’re now so close to being able to share our wonderful new facilities and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to come and get closer to nature in such a beautiful woodland setting,” said Aimee Clarke, the Trust’s Director of Education.

“But we do still have work to do if we’re to equip the centre properly – we need wildlife cameras, computers, office furniture, and even a fridge! Our shopping list is a long one and we’re hoping local businesses and community groups will help us buy some of these much-needed items.”

Toyota in Epsom has already offered to equip two of the classrooms with a generous pledge of £15,700 – this will also buy a hearing induction loop for visitors who are hard of hearing. In total Toyota will have supported the Nower Wood project to the tune of more than £40,000.

Tadworth based investment company Fidelity International has also kindly kitted out the third classroom with a fantastic donation of £7,500. 

But the Trust still needs to find more than £20,000 to buy:
• Cameras for nest boxes, bat boxes and ponds
• Computers for students and staff
• Tools for volunteers to help manage the reserve
• Office furniture
• White goods for the kitchen

The new building houses three bright new classrooms, allowing the Trust to expand its programme of educational activities. The design of the centre and its surroundings will open up Nower Wood to new audiences, including those with special educational needs and disabilities. The £1.1m scheme has been funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and donations from supporters and local businesses. 

The 81 acres of ancient woodland at Nower Wood was bought for use as an educational nature reserve in 1971. It’s hoped 12,000 visitors of all ages will visit the new centre every year to take part in pond-dipping, bug hunts, wild play, mammal studies and environmental surveys. 

“We want the whole community to benefit from this amazing new centre by discovering the natural world,” added Aimee. “We know that contact with wildlife makes us happier and healthier. And if we can encourage a love and understanding of nature, future generations will be inspired to protect it and that is so very important.”

Nower Wood is holding its first FREE family open day on Saturday April 22, when everybody can come along and see the new centre, take part in wild activities and walk in the stunning bluebell woods. Book your morning or afternoon session here: >>

If you or your business or community group can help with our final push to kit out the classrooms at Nower Wood, please contact Tania Ord-Smith on 01483 795469 or email Tania.Ord-Smith@surreywt.org.uk .

Tagged with: Business, Fundraising, Legacies, Membership, Outdoor learning, Volunteering, Wildlife Watch