MORE than 6,000 schoolchildren in the North East have learnt all about birds and wildlife, thanks to the hugely successful Bird Friendly Schools project. Demand for the RSPB Scotland led education sessions exceeded all expectations and reached a far greater number of children than initial targets.
The Bird Friendly Schools initiative aimed to provide nursery and primary school aged children with first hand experience of nature through both classroom activities and outdoor learning, delivered through a series of visits to their class by trained RSPB volunteers and RSPB Field Teachers.
Claire Marsden, RSPB Bird Friendly Schools Project Officer said: “Many teachers have used this to deliver every aspect of the curriculum to their classes, from learning about and watching birds, to producing a play about how the RSPB started.
The success of this project lies in the infectious enthusiasm of our volunteers, and the willingness of class teachers to take that spark of interest and use it to deliver effective learning both indoors and out.”
During the school visits, children were taught about birds and bird identification, bird adaptation and habitats and the Aberdeen Red Kites.
Children and teachers were also encouraged to improve their school grounds for biodiversity and to take part in the RSPB Big Schools Bird Watch, which links to the Eco Schools Scheme.
All of the Bird Friendly School activities had links to the Curriculum for Excellence and the project has helped give teachers the skills and confidence to use birds and wildlife to deliver this part of the children’s learning.
The project, which ran in the North East from 2008 to 2012, has in total reached 6344 schoolchildren in 242 schools across the region and has involved 36 volunteers and five field teachers.
The Grampian Bird Friendly Schools Project was funded by Scottish Natural Heritage, the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and the MacRobert Trust.