Blackpool Aspire Academy pupils work on new conservation projects to restore wildlife

Pupils at a Blackpool secondary school have been taking part in conservation workshops to help wildlife thrive in the community.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 8:19 am

The first workshop held at Aspire Academy in Blackpool Old Road taught pupils how to make bird boxes, in a bid to attract more feathered friends to the school grounds.

Working in conjunction with The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), the activity was the first time some of the younger pupils had used DIY tools, and they were responsible for installing the boxes around the grounds.

Peggy Plancke, science and languages teacher, said: "The aim of the first conservation project is to restore and recreate a wildlife-rich space on the vast school grounds on Blackpool Old Road by working in partnership with neighbouring communities, wildlife and conservation organisations.

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Teacher Peggy Plancke with Murray Woodward from BASC, helping year eight pupils from Aspire Academy to build bird boxes. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

"Partnering with BASC, the Woodland and the Wildlife Trusts, the team has identified key areas to protect for wildlife and will be conducting workshops over the next few years to KS3 pupils to engage them with outdoor education as well as look after and learn from the environment."

Pupils have also been invited to support Lancashire Wildlife Trust with its Fylde Sand Dunes Project.

The project, a partnership between The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, Fylde Council and Blackpool Council, aims to preserve the dunes, improve them as a sea defence feature, and safeguard the UK's rarest sand lizard species.

Miss Plancke continued: "Blackpool Aspire Academy has been offered a chance to participate in the project and will start the work at the beginning of July.

aspire Academy pupils Natasha Dyson and Jennifer Crombie work on building bird boxes for the school grounds. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

"At this time of year, the pupils will be undertaking two main conservation tasks – creating dune slacks and planting dune grasses.

"Vegetation is essential on our dunes as it reduces the amount of bare sand that can be lost from the system. Vegetation roots trap and anchor sand particles in place to encourage dune growth."

John Topping from Fylde Coast Academy Trust, which runs the school, said: "It is very pleasing to see groups of Aspire Academy students and staff actively enjoying projects that support conservation and environmental learning.

"We are grateful for the after-school support of Murray Woodward from BASC who has brought to Aspire a high level of conservation-related expertise and knowledge.

Murray Woodward from BASC helps pupils at Aspire Academy make bird boxes to encourage birds to visit the school grounds. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

"These creative bird box projects connect our youngsters to the world around us, that is made up of both natural and built environments. I am hoping that we can have more creative workshops such as this across our Fylde Coast Academy Trust."

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