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 7 schools in the pilot project, who are working closely with Alex Hall, the Schools Project Coordinator and Jennifer Lauroul, Permaculture Garden Designer from Carpe Diem Gardens.
- 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
- Willow Lane Community 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.
Learnings from this pilot will then be used to find Wildings in other schools in the District.
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.
Our Lady's Catholic College
The Loyne Specialist School
At the Loyne School we pride ourselves on the holistic curriculum provision we offer, of which sustainability and environmental awareness are some of the overarching principals of our school ethos. The rewilding project will enable our pupils to develop a greater understanding of our natural work and how they can nurture our environment as well as creating opportunities for our wider school community to become involved in this exciting project.
Sandylands Community Primary School
Sandylands Community Primary has always had the local community at its heart. We are aiming to develop our available greenspace to give pupils the opportunity to learn ‘outside the classroom’ and engage the local community in a variety of activities and opportunities that will arise from the project. We are aiming to increase awareness about sustainability, climate change and the local environment and ways in which can all play our part in developing and protecting Morecambe Bay now, and in the future.
Moorside Primary School
We are very excited to be part of the project and are very keen to re-wild areas of our site. We want to help the children to learn about food production and permaculture through growing food in sustainable ways.
Willow Land Community Primary School
At Willow Lane, we are committed to providing our children with an inclusive and enriching environment- a place they are excited to attend every day. Through the Wildings project, we aim to engage our children with food production, re-wilding and sustainability work in the school grounds and embed these experiences within our curriculum. We want our children to develop their appreciation and understanding of the natural environment and how they can actively contribute to positive change. We also want the project to support us in developing ever stronger links with our wider community by exploring ways to share our grounds and the fruit and vegetables grown by our children.
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.