Mount Carmel held an Eco Champions day inviting partner primary school Eco teams along to participate with Mount Carmel's Eco team in a range of activities which would lead to a RSPB Wild Challenge Bronze Award.
Forty Year 6, 5 and 4 pupils from St. Oswald’s, St.Mary’s Oswaldtwistle, St. Mary’s Clayton-le-Moors, Sacred Heart, Green Haworth, St. Anne’s & St. Joseph’s and Mount Carmel participated in six challenges during the course of the day. The challenges undertaken to achieve the award were; Planting for Wildlife, Sensing the World, Bioblitz, Look Closer, Biodiversity Action Plan and Spread the Word.
Planting for wildlife
Pupils made seed bombs which contained insect friendly pollinator seeds. They loved getting their hands messy whilst mixing up a muddy compost mix! Mr Blair, Mount Carmel ECO co-ordinator explained the best area and time of year these seeds would be suited to so they could be 'bombed' within a suitable area of their own schools.
Sensing the World
Pupils were invited to use their senses of smell and taste when given a selection of plants and herbs which included rosemary, chive, basil, coriander and taragon. Mrs Crook, Forest School coordinator at Mount Carmel asked pupils to consider if each fragrance reminded them of anything and describe how it made them feel. Most pupils were very surprised to discover they could eat the leaves of plants. They were also asked to smell some compost and think of a descriptive word for the smell; responses included woody, earthy and sweet.
Using a large indoor replica of a meadow pupils were asked to use quadrats to isolate an area enabling them to study the distribution of flowers and plants. Mount Carmel science teacher Miss Hatton asked the pupils to count the number of dandelions, buttercups and daisies and record their results on a chart.
Under instruction from Mount Carmel Science teacher Miss Jenkinson pupils very carefully dissected a daffodil and labelled the parts. They then placed these parts under a microscope so they could be viewed in much greater detail.
Biodiversity Action Plan
All pupils came together in the afternoon to discuss an action plan for their own school. Guided by Mr Blair and Mr Pughsley who is Geography Curriculum Leader at Mount Carmel they discussed what they currently do and what they plan to do. Their discussions included how to make their ideas a reality and they considered ways of fundraising and asking for help and resources. Their creative ideas included building log piles, hog houses, nest boxes, bee nests, ponds, rock piles and toad holes. They even suggested getting chickens, ducks, bees and pigeons! An aerial photograph of each school had also been printed enabling the pupils to plan the location of their ideas.
Spread the Word
Each team of pupils bravely stood on the stage in Mount Carmel's hall and presented their Biodiversity Action Plan (using the microphone!) to the other teams explaining their vision, how it could develop over time and how practically it could be managed regarding budget and available resources. The other teams asked lots of very interesting and sensible questions which enabled a sharing of ideas to plans. The teams all felt confident to present their action plan to peers and staff when they return to their own schools.