The Mead Academy Trust is proud to be participating in Polli:Nation, the Heritage Lottery funded biodiversity and education project which is supporting pupils from 260 schools across the UK to turn their school grounds and other local walk-to spaces into pollinator friendly habitats.
This cross-curricula secondary and primary school project gives pupils direct hands-on experiences; from creating vertical green walls and night-blooming flower beds to lobbying to change school maintenance regimes and debating pesticide use. Pupils learn about the role pollinating insects play in ecosystem services and can contextualise this in the choices and actions they take.
Alongside creating a network of knowledgeable and enthused young activists, the ambition of the programme is to utilise school grounds to form local green corridors and ‘stepping stones’, enabling species to move between core areas and thereby increasing numbers and sightings of pollinating insects in the UK.
The aim of the project is to engage and enthuse children and young people to protect pollinating insect species in the UK and the outcome of the project is to see an increase in the number and diversity of pollinating insect species in school grounds and local community spaces across the UK.
The Mead Academy Trust’s project is working across all 4 schools (we are considering Wingfield as a separate school for this project). We are currently in Phase 1, where we are focusing on developing habitats at The Mead and River Mead – Castle Mead and Wingfield will follow in Phase 2.
We already have a great diversity of growing areas but are working to improve the habitats as well as the communication about the growing areas. In order to do this we have 20 Polli:Nation Ambassadors whose role is to help communicate information about pollinating insects and the plants they need to the school and wider community. They are creating fact sheets, doing class room presentations and will be helping to host open days. We also have work being done by children in computing, DT and Art clubs to promote understanding of insects and their importance.
All of the schools are conducting surveys to record plant and insect diversity in defined quadrats around the school grounds.