Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Wiltshire Kingfisher Award Scheme

On a wet day in June this year, 25 pupils and their teachers from Hindon School aged 8-10 arrived by bus at a point high in the hills above Alvediston. They were the first pupils in Wiltshire to participate in the Kingfisher Award Scheme and for this they were to spend two hours in the company of wildlife specialists, learning about small mammals, owls and raptors, bees, and moths and butterflies. In small groups, they spent time at each stand, handling owls and kestrels, dissecting owl pellets, watching the queen bee and tasting the honey, learning about the moths caught during the previous night, finding the mice and voles caught in the traps laid the day before. In every case, learning and understanding about wildlife and its relationship to farming and conservation through hands–on activity and ‘doing’, rather than simply listening. In the afternoon, it was Ludwell School’s turn and once again, the children were thrilled by the variety and the chance to get close to wildlife, working with real experts.

Later in the term, the children would prepare a project around what they had learnt and seen. All schools participating would then set up their project at a picnic where there would be entertainment and picnic bags, and tea and cake for the parents. The projects would be judged in competition with other schools and the winning school awarded a coloured kingfisher statue, to retain for one year.

Some extracts from charming thank-you letters written by Ludwell pupils:

“Thank you for organising a fantastic day”

“I enjoyed all the tents, but my favourite was the one where we had to break the owls’ pellets and look for bones “

“I am writing to thank you for the terrific time at the Kingfisher day”

“I am writing to thank you because I had a wonderful time at the Kingfisher day”

To learn more on THE KINGFISHER AWARD SCHEME for primary schools  combining farming, conservation and education please contact Alastair Brown
The Kingfisher Award Scheme (KAS) was first launched in Devon at the instigation of the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and friends in 1992. It has now expanded into Cornwall, Somerset and Wiltshire