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Yarmouth playground to wildlife garden

PUBLISHED: 11:09 06 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:14 03 July 2010

The wildlife garden at North Denes school.

The wildlife garden at North Denes school.

Conservationists swooped on a Great Yarmouth school this week to transform part of a playing field into a wildlife garden for use as an outdoor classroom .

Conservationists swooped on a Great Yarmouth school this week to transform part of a playing field into a wildlife garden for use as an outdoor classroom .

The team from the Broads Authority set themselves five days to create five different wildlife habitats at North Denes School - a woodland, a wild flower meadow, a marshy bog using peat from the Broads, a gorse heathland trail and a native hedgerow.

“The habitats are designed to introduce the five to 11 year olds to the wild world on their doorstep,” said Eilish Owen-Rothney, countryside ranger for the Ant and Thurne Valley. “We wanted to bring a little bit of the Broads into the town. Wildlife areas can stimulate children to achieve in lots of subjects.”

The four area rangers, who are each in charge of a different river valley within the Broads, chose Yarmouth because of its position at the confluence of all the rivers. They have worked with the children in class and are supporting the teachers to build a programme of study to fully use the area.

Head teacher Nancy Heywood said: We are trying to instil in the children a love of the environment and of being outdoors and try to develop in them a responsibility for their environment. We are preparing the citizens of the future to look after the planet.”

“There aren't many places for children to learn about the environment around here. The cost of transport to take children into the country has become quite prohibitive so we wanted to create these opportunities on our own school site.

The wildlife habitats will become part of the curriculum helping with science, literacy and numeracy and inspiring writing and learning.”

A team of artists from the SeaChange Project will bring the wildlife areas to life through art, sculpture, storytelling, writing and video work. An environmental artist will be helping the pupils build a willow weave boat which will be surrounded with blue wild flowers - speedwell, forget me nots, scabies and skullcap - to imitate water.

Last year North Denes School won the Norfolk School Sustainability Award and became a Healthy Norfolk School. It is now working towards its Eco Schools Green Flag status.

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