Glasdir: living classrooms inspiring children’s interest in nature
Countryside Service has been working on an exciting living classroom partnership with Rhos Street Primary School.
A number of years ago, Countryside Service took over the management of Glasdir in Ruthin, as mitigation land for a new nearby housing estate, with a view to creating a partnership with the local school. Over the past few years, Countryside Service staff worked hard to transform this overgrown area into a haven for wildlife.
We have been working on an area of willow with ditching, which has been identified as ideal water vole habitat. The school have been helping to coppice the willow along the banks of the ditches to allow more light into the water. Further into the site, we are continuing to improve the pond, which was excavated in 2017. Pupils got involved in planting native wildflower plugs, a mixture specially selected for its suitability to wetland habitats. The children enjoy birdwatching from the hide, also built in 2017.
The bird hide
Recently, pupils planted an orchard consisting of Denbigh plum, Welsh Cox and Nant Gwytheyrn apples. After camera traps were installed, the children enjoyed viewing footage of mammals, including badgers and foxes, exploring the site. They have also been learning about insect pollinators with the installation of solitary bee boxes, which are proving popular with red mason and leafcutter bees. The newly-planted wildflower turf has been a great success, with the resulting bloom shown in the photo.
Wildflower turf in bloom
Earlier this year, we hosted an open evening at Glasdir to give families of the school pupils a chance to see their work. Families enjoyed exploring the site, and had a go at using bat detectors.
Bat detectors in use at the family evening event
In June, Maria Golightly from Grow Wild Wales visited the Living Classroom, along with project leaders from the Morfa Gateway Project in Prestatyn. They were greatly impressed by the efforts of both the Countryside Service and the school. During the visit, pupils installed signs for the orchard trees, and enjoyed some moth trapping.
Moth trapping with Maria from Grow Wild
The children look forward to getting outside, learning about nature and doing something different to traditional lessons. “Rhos Street School is proud and enthusiastic to be part this unique partnership. ‘The Living Classroom’ enables us to provide meaningful and enjoyable environmental tasks and experiences in the wider countryside. This hands-on experience is vital for the children to recognise and value the role they play in a sustainable future”, said Joanne Davies, Eco Co-ordinated, Rhos Street School. We will be continuing our work with Rhos Street School at Glasdir in the Autumn term, and hope this project will spark an interest in nature for future generations.