Welcome to the Morecambe Bay Schools project –
Where the Wildings are!
In the short term this project aims to support schools in improving their grounds for wildlife and growing food. Then to increase opportunities for outdoor learning. But it is so much more than this.
Where The Wildings Are! is an ambitious programme of work that seeks to turn educational establishments across Lancaster and Morecambe Bay into hubs that reverse climate change, biodiversity loss and food insecurity.
Schools are important hubs in the community, supporting children and their families in ways that go far beyond their traditional role of providing education. The challenges of Covid 19 have only served to emphasise the many additional benefits that schools provide; from the free childcare that enables parents to work, through to the essential ingredients of mental and physical wellbeing – for example social and emotional support for children, a decent hot meal and safe outdoor play space every day. This project uses schools’ role as community hubs to tackle three urgent challenges: climate change, biodiversity loss and food insecurity.
This project has been developed in collaboration with headteachers and key local stakeholders including the Eden Project North and North Lancashire FoodFutures. It also draws on the learning from a number of pilot projects such as the Off the Ground and gardener in residence programmes which have taken place in the district in recent years. To learn more about the proposed approach, read the project proposal here
There are 10 schools in the project, who are working closely with Alex Hall, the Schools Project Coordinator.
- Moorside Primary School
- Our Lady’s Catholic College
- Overton St Helens Church of England Primary School
- Ryelands Primary and Nursery School
- Sandylands Community Primary School
- The Loyne Specialist School
- Ripley St. Thomas Church of England Academy
- Quernmore CE (VC) Primary School
- Mossgate Primary School
- St. Patricks Catholic Primary School
Though each school has its own social, economic and environmental needs, they all have strengths and knowledge bases which they can share with other schools within the project. Helping build resilience with the schools of Lancaster and Morecambe as well as throughout their communities.
These are some of the ways that rewilding school grounds will help the environment.
- Planted edible, ornamental, wildlife-friendly landscaping
- Some dedicated food growing space. This could include features like an orchard with fruit trees or a vegetable garden, a seed saving project or a propagation nursery.
- Improved soil ecology and habitats for plants, invertebrates, pollinators, birds and mammals
- Creates essential habitat islands and wildlife corridors linking green spaces
- Enhances resilience of ecosystems in a rapidly-changing climate
- Increase in the amount of fresh local food available in the district.
The project aims to;
- Develop a healthy living programme within the schools where the produce grown is used to help feed pupils, staff and their families.
- A curriculum that teaches horticulture, ecology, botany and conservation through a hands-on as well as theoretical approach.
- Create the physical infrastructure and calendar necessary for outdoor learning.
- Provide the physical framework necessary for the head, heart, hands approach to environmental learning which is central to the Eden Project North Morecambe Bay Curriculum from birth to 24 and also the Permaculture curriculum (Lusi Andersloe Children in Permaculture)
- Enhance opportunities to teach a wide range of subjects – including PSHE, maths and literacy in creative settings.
Indirectly we hope to
- Support for families to re-green home gardens, yards and alleys.
- Families embrace active and healthy lifestyles.
- Improved physical and mental health through:
- Increased provision of fresh healthy food at home and in school.
- Increased opportunities for fun, creative play and exercise in nature.
Fixed Point Photography
This is an effective yet simple method of recording changes in the landscape through the seasons. It is used across the world as a scientific technique to monitor changes in habitats and ecosystems, becoming more effective the more it is repeated over time.
At each school, a group of students will be recording the changes to their school grounds through the seasons and through this project.
Teacher workshops 2023-24
September: The benefits of Forest Gardens
October: Natural dyes with the Sewing Café
November: Composting and the National Curriculum
January: Climate change conversations
February: Cookery in the curriculum
Workshops are free to WTWA schools (use discount code from September WTWA network meeting). Please book on using the Eventbrite link below. None WTWA schools can attend for a small charge. Any questions or suggestions for further workshops please email Alex at email@example.com.
Below are the landscape designs for each of the schools. There have been some amendments following feedback from staff, students and the wider school community, which will be added shortly.
December 2021 – Where the Wildings are!
It was a busy end to 2021 visiting our schools and finding out what the young people would like to grow, learn and see in their school grounds. In each school classes drew pictures of food and plants they would like to grow, things they would like to build to encourage wildlife and habitats they would like to see in their grounds.
The resulting drawing show lots of the children would like to see more wildlife. Some classes were really keen to have a pond or wetland area. There was even a request for a bee hive and some chickens. It was just fantastic to see how many of them really wanted to get outside and learn about the world around them. Can’t wait to show them how their ideas fit into the new landscape designs.
We’re ready for the next phase with our Pilot schools! Each school has now received their first draft of the landscape design for their grounds. We are gradually gathering feedback making tweaks and putting together an action plan for how we make our plans a reality.
At the same time, we are inviting schools to express an interest in joining the second cohort starting in September 2022. If your school would like to join us please email Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org.