By Betsy Everett
Children from Askrigg and Bainbridge primary schools’ eco group explore big issues of bio-diversity and environmental management through simple, practical activities such as building nesting boxes for the birds which inhabit their playgrounds.
One of the final opportunities to do it this year came when six pupils, each representing their year group, attended a special workshop at Gayle Mill near Hawes before it closes for refurbishment at the end of March.
Volunteers at the mill make the basic components of the wooden boxes before the children assemble and finish the different designs according to the kind of bird they want to attract.
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Blue tits, coal tits and robins will nest in the boxes in the spring, and the new boxes will provide extra nesting space.
“We already have one box at Askrigg which is taken every year by a blue tit and the extra boxes which have been generously donated by Gayle Mill will be a bonus,” said teacher, Julie Fawcett, who has led the eco group to gain the Green Flag Award, the benchmark national standard in the United Kingdom.
The children have been fascinated by the house martins which nest in the eaves of Askrigg school year after year.
“Older buildings provide vital nesting space which more modern houses just don’t have so it’s really interesting for the children to understand the importance of making friendly spaces for the birds,” said Julie.