A new ecology club is being set up for students at Brooke Weston, so they can learn more about the natural environment. It will be run jointly by teachers from the science department and groundsmen, Paul Twamley and Dayle Sharkey.
Brooke Weston has an ongoing conservation programme and, in recent years, students have helped plant 400 trees and 20,000 bulbs as part of their Year 7 curriculum. The groundsmen have also taken on other projects, such as laying a quarter of a mile of hedge, planting colourful displays and building a pond in the courtyard for nesting ducks and their ducklings, as well as routine maintenance on the grounds.
Mr Twamley, who is studying for a BSc in Land Management, said: 'Since I started the degree I'm more aware of conservation issues and I'm trying to manage the grounds differently; to leave unmown buffer strips along hedgerows which provides both a habitat for birds and insects but also gives them protection from predators.'
There is a lot of wildlife on site, as well as geese, ducks and pond birds there are protected species such as Great Crested Newts and Bee Orchids. Mr Twamley said: ' With the ecology club we can look at the site using surveying techniques, pond dipping, sweeping, moth trapping, light trapping and can identify and log all the different species that we find. If the students found a rare species or something unusual they would be credited on our web page with finding it, so that might make them a little bit more determined.'
The club, which will run on Tuesdays evenings, will be suitable for all year groups and there's even a prize for the student who comes up with the best name for it. Please email all your suggestions to Miss Boyce, Mrs Annable or Mr Twamley.