St. Edwards School is one of our newest Partners in Action near Southampton. It is a school for boys who experience behavioural difficulties and is situated in a substantial park on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire. In just a few months, they have made huge efforts to integrate the Target 25 (T25) initiative into their ground’s management plans and create new areas where species can thrive. From woodlands (T4) to hedgerows (T2) and grasslands (T1), St. Edwards is working on developing a wide range of habitats across the estate to encourage various species from the Target 25 list, such as marsh tit, spotted flycatcher, house martin and more.
St. Edwards School incorporates Creation Care into the Religious Education (RE) lessons and increasingly the wider national curriculum. As part of the students learning around ‘What makes a home and how can we create homes and spaces we feel safe in’, students have built 30 bird boxes including boxes for the Spotted Flycatcher (T18) and Marsh Tits (T25) to be put up across the estate. A particular highlight has been the team recently planting around 200 English Oak (T21) trees grown by the RE department in their own tree nursery.
Another highlight of their work is the plan to turn their walled garden (pictured below) into a beautiful space for nature and people. This will involve a range of developments good for nature. They plan to extend their historic apple orchards, creating a food forest with a firepit and producing furniture made from fallen trees from the estate. Along one wall they are also putting up bat boxes to encourage the local bat population.
A cross-shaped hedge feature will be planted on one side of the garden. This will contain a great variety of native species such as elder, beech, hawthorn, hazel, dogrose and blackthorn. The result will be different species flowering and fruiting at different times to provide food for wildlife for as much of the year as possible. The area around the walled garden will be managed like a wildflower meadow to encourage pollinating insects and native wildflowers (T6). Importantly, the garden will also become a meeting space to encourage both staff and pupils to spend time outdoors.
The school is just a snapshot of what our amazing Partners in Action are doing across the UK to protect and restore nature. We look forward to sharing many more stories of transformation from our Partners in future emails and on our social media.
Find out more about our Partners in Action here.