CHILDREN from Tarvin Primary School enjoyed a wild day out along the Gowy & Mersey rivers with Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
The school was the first to take part in the Trust’s Living Landscape project – supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, giving local communities in the Gowy & Mersey Washlands area the chance to discover more about the surrounding countryside and its wildlife.
The eight year olds started their day near Beeston Castle at Home farm on the Peckforton Estate, where farm manager Peter Bull described the wildlife-friendly organic farming techniques behind the acres of vibrant purple clover that the children explored.
After a spot of pond-dipping on the farm, coming face-to-face with water boatmen, whirligig beetles and dragonflies, the young naturalists headed to the River Gowy, in the shadow of Beeston Castle to discover the creatures that call the Gowy home.
Travelling through the Living Landscape project area, the children then spent the afternoon at Halton Borough Council’s Pickering’s Pasture nature reserve, where the gentle meander of the Gowy becomes the mighty Mersey – home to thousands of birds, including the recent arrival of the rare marsh harrier.
In the open spaces of the nature reserve next to the Mersey, the children were able to explore the concepts of the ‘water cycle’, through physical and interactive games.
Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Living Landscape project officer Nick Rowles said: “We were blessed with two superb sunny autumn days for this first trip of our Living Landscape project, and the children got stuck in right from the start. The recent heavy rain meant that we weren’t able to get as up-close and personal with some of the creatures we’d have liked in the rivers, but this didn’t stop the children getting hands-on with many of the activities. Both the Gowy and the Mersey rivers are the lifeblood of the landscape in this part of the region, and we hope many more children will get the chance to explore the rivers during the lifetime of the project”.
The children’s teacher Sheila Earlam, from Tarvin Primary School said: “The Year 4 children really enjoyed their wonderful day pond and stream dipping with the Wildlife Trust. They had great fun learning about habitats and feeding chains, and it was an excellent opportunity to compare two very different rivers. Nick and his team at Cheshire Wildlife Trust provided an exciting and well-planned learning experience”.
The children also created homes for local wildlife such as bees and other insects.
Cheshire Wildlife Trust hosts around 800 children each year at their Bickley Hall Farm headquarters, with over 2,000 children involved in educational projects run by the Trust across the county. To find out more about educational programmes with Cheshire Wildlife Trust or their local ‘Wildlife Watch’ groups for children call 01948 820728 or visit www.cheshirewildlifetrust.co.uk