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Nature Nook Opens at Longstone School

Nature Nook Opens at Longstone School

July 7, 2017

The pupils and staff in Longstone School recently celebrated the official opening of its Nature Nook, alongside the Mayor, Councillor Tim Morrow who cut the ribbon and other VIP guests from the project partnership after the special assembly to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the project.

This project was funded by the Big Lottery, Awards for All Scheme with support from organisations such as the Belfast Hills Partnership and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.

Longstone School’s Nature Nook is a structured play nature area inside the school grounds which promotes biodiversity and helps pupils learn about the environment and how to protect it. The £10,000 Big Lottery Awards for All funding provided structured play elements such as a willow arch, log pile and an outdoor classroom. Other features donated by Belfast Hills Partnership and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council include trees, raised planters, a hedgehog sanctuary, a bug hotel, bird feeder and bird table.

The Mayor, Councillor Tim Morrow, speaking about the Nature Nook, said: “The whole school can use the Nature Nook from Key Stage One through to Key Stage Four.   Pupils in Key Stage One and Two use it as a place to practise motor skills, develop an awareness of the environment and use their imagination through play. Key Stage Three and Four pupils use the sensory garden for projects such as the John Muir Award, which encourages developing, conserving and sharing conservation spaces.

“I was very pleased to hear from the pupils about the various stages of the project from design to implementation.  The Council supplied signage for the Nook and also held biodiversity workshops in the school to allow the pupils to make design decisions.  The older pupils are gaining experience of being good citizens through the Nature Nook as the Eco-Schools Committee Members spend time maintaining and improving the space on a weekly basis.  All the pupils are good ambassadors for biodiversity and environmental protection.  I have no doubt that each pupil takes home what they learn in the Nature Nook to tell and educate their families.”

The entire venture has been a partnership between the school and organisations such as Timber Tots, Tesco Springhill Community Team, Johnstone’s Paint Shop in Balloo Bangor, the RSPB and Carryduff Building Supplies donating supplies, time and support to the garden.