Surrey School Children Achieve Coveted Wildlife Award

Thursday 13th July 2017

Children from Ashford Park Primary gain their John Muir AwardChildren from Ashford Park Primary gain their John Muir Award

A wildlife project in Staines has earned young nature lovers a special ‘John Muir Award’ for their work to help their local environment.

If they go home dirty they’ve had a good day!

A group of 30 children from Ashford Park Primary School have worked towards the accolade over several months at Church Lammas Lakes in Wraysbury Road.

With the help of Surrey Wildlife Trust the children covered all four aspects of the national award scheme – Discover a wild place; Explore it; Conserve it and Share it.

The John Muir Award encourages people to get outdoors and closer to nature, to learn about wildlife, get involved and take action to help the environment, then pass on their knowledge to others.

“The children had great fun pond dipping, hunting for minibeasts and learning about habitats and how to light fires and use tools safely,” said Laura Ashfield, Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Outdoor Learning Officer. “They then shared what they’d learnt in a special assembly at school and hosted an event at the lakes to showcase their project to parents, teachers and the local community.”

The year four children toasted marshmallows for their guests on a campfire, showed off the wooden bird boxes and medals they’d made and demonstrated their pond dipping and insect identification skills. 

“I have really loved being outdoors,” said Lisa, aged nine, from Kingfishers class. “The best things were roasting the marshmallow ‘smores’ and making my own bird box.”

Classmate Collins, also aged nine, added: “I live in a flat and we haven’t got a garden, so it’s been good for me to be outside. Doing the award has been really interesting – the bird boxes were really hard but thanks to the power of teamwork we got things done.”

Pauline Bartlett, John Muir co-ordinator at Ashford Park Primary, said: “Being outside, learning about the environment, understanding nature and the food chain are so important for children. Lots of children who maybe struggle in class really thrive outside – they come alive and learn so much better. If they go home dirty they’ve had a good day!”

Church Lammas Lakes is a former gravel pit, owned by aggregate company Brett and managed by Spelthorne Borough Council, which co-ordinates the John Muir Award on the site. The national environmental award is open to all and run by the John Muir Trust. For more details visit:

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