News and Projects that the Trust Has Funded
Wigmore School Has Ugly Bug Ball
A school is being transformed into a haven for British bugs thanks to a grant from the Kingspan Insulation Community Trust.
The Wigmore School Biodiversity Project, which is particularly interested in invertebrate life, is being funded through a £3,300 grant from the Trust and pupils and teachers have been giving up their free time to create a new woodland around the school, which they hope will become home to a huge range of creatures great and small.
To monitor the success of their efforts, the grant will also enable the children to keep a watchful eye on invertebrate populations using a range of specialist equipment. Wigmore’s Eco Schools Co-ordinator, science teacher Amanda Townsend explained:
“This is a fantastic project for everybody to get involved in and we couldn’t have done it without this funding. The school looks so different already. We’ve just underplanted the trees with wild flowers and next year we plan to plant bulbs such bluebells and Welsh daffodils. All the plant species we’ve used are indigenous and will provide the perfect habitat for local invertebrates such as woodlice, beetles, and spiders.”
The mention of spiders might put some people off, but not according to Amanda: “Our students love it. They’ve been giving up their lunch times and coming in after school to do the project. This is proper commitment.
“We use a pooter pot to gather and count the small creatures. The pooter has two tubes. One goes in your mouth and the other is placed over the invertebrate. You literally suck the animal into the pot. It’s a less invasive way of taking a specimen and after observation we can put the animals back unharmed. There’s no danger of ending up with a woodlouse in your mouth,” she added, reassuringly.
The study also focuses on the stream which runs through the school grounds; and even the British weather will not escape scrutiny. Pupils will be counting populations of aquatic invertebrates such as: caddis fly larvae, water shrimps and may fly larvae; and a weather station purchased from the grant money will record variations in rainfall and temperature. Very soon, data from the weather station will be accessible to anyone via the school’s website.
“The research will be carried out by specific groups of children but will be available for everyone to use and learn from”, said Amanda Townsend. “We want our pupils to be aware of climate change and its local impact but this project also has an added benefit for the whole community.”