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Close to the hedge

A new scheme aims to educate children about the wildlife and biodiversity in the world around them

Aiming to educate children about the wildlife and biodiversity in the world around them, the Organic Milk Cooperative (OMSCo) is set to launch a new initiative that uses workshops to turn the humble hedgerow into an educational safari.

Designed for children aged 7-11, the Winter Workshop scheme is spearheaded by ‘safari leader’ Finlay McLaren who will be visiting schools across the UK to teach them all about biodiversity on organic farms. Children will learn all about the different animals around them whilst there will also be a special focus on bats, with the children making bat boxes that will be put up on organic farms next spring.

The Winter Workshops have come about following the success of OMSCo’s summer ‘Hedgerow Safari’ programme, which saw children getting out onto organic farms and discovering for themselves the prolific wildlife that thrives in organic hedgerows.

“The safaris have really struck a chord with adults and children alike,” said Finlay, reflecting on the summer project. “They have loved the experience of being on a farm learning about why organic hedgerows are such important habitats. We wanted to build on this and create an education programme to run during the winter months when there isn’t as much to see in the hedges. The free workshops will still have the hands-on elements that the kids have loved, with activities including creating colourful birds, bugs and bats to go on the hedge frieze, and we hope this will help them to really engage with conservation issues. The new initiative has also been developed as a way to reach areas such as inner-city London, where it is difficult to get the children out on to a local farm.”

The initiative is intended to complement many aspects of the KS2 curriculum with specific focus on science and geography. For further information on the scheme and supporting documents outlining subject link-ups, interested teachers should visit http://www.teach-organic.org.uk or contact Gill Crane on 07920 057377.

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Pie Corbett