Lucy Wallace and Malcom Corps with pupils from Mowbray school
Green fingered children who have transformed an overgrown field into a nature reserve have received national recognition.
The Keep Britain Tidy group has awarded a prestigious Green Flag to Mowbray School near Bedale, North Yorkshire, after seeing the work carried out by the children under the guidance of teaching assistants Malcolm Corps and Lucy Wallace.
Mr Corps drew up plans for a nature reserve whilst convalescing after an operation. When he returned a local landowner agreed to lease the special school a nearby field of rough pasture and work began in January with the children putting their woodworking and gardening skills to good use.
Local company John Prior Construction and farmer Paul Johnson helped dig out the ponds, the Wensleydale Railway provided some wooden sleepers and many other members of the local community also helped out.
As well as the ponds, the youngsters have also built walkways and fences using recycled wood, made willow weave tunnels and sculptures, set up bird feeding stations and a bird hide and planted a wildflower area and old English fruit tree orchard.
Already they have recorded dozens of different flora and fauna to appear at the reserve including woodpecker, dragonflies, frogs and primroses.
The Green Flag Awards recognise the best green spaces in the country and are seen as a way of encouraging others to achieve high environmental standards.
Louise Leyland, of the Keep Britain Tidy Group, said: “The award is well deserved and reflects the hard work the children and staff have put in. The nature reserve the school is developing is an excellent way to teach pupils about bio-diversity and the work they have carried out is impressive.”
Mowbray School head, Jonathan Tearle said: “This has extended the curriculum for the children but perhaps the greatest achievement is for them to see a project right through from the design stage to reality. The amount of local community involvement has also been very pleasing.”