Mr Rai, from Ken Stimpson Community School, explains how students got involved with supporting PECT’s Forest for Peterborough project with a willow maze maintenance day.
12 year 8 students set off one Tuesday morning towards the East of England Showground. We arrived in good time and were welcomed to the site’s willow maze and nature conservation area. The students were eager to get exploring and split up into several groups to traverse the growing maze.
The group rejoined and after a short introduction quickly engaged in the site work. The maze fences and surrounding area had become dilapidated by natural causes. The group gathered small growing willow from areas thick within the maze and replanted it in areas around the maze. Students quickly began taking on different roles within the team – collecting willow, planting and rearranging parts of the maze. Every student became near-experts in using secateurs and deciding on which willow to use.
After a well-deserved group break under sunny skies, the group engaged again in the task, working together to collect further willow and then planting it to bolster the maze. The planting rate grew faster and faster, reaching 6 willow saplings per minute at one point thanks to the team effort!
In the last half hour the group then split, allowing for students to begin conducting samples of the area. They collected soil and microbe populations growing in certain areas. The results from this survey will be shared in the near future.
At the trip’s end students were allowed to enter the beekeepers site and explore the inner workings of a beehive. Students helped clear away any debris from the site and thanked all the staff.
Overall the day was a huge success, with thanks to the staff from Peterborough Environment City Trust alongside the school’s Science and Maths departments. The pupils had a fantastic experience contributing to the local environment and applying their knowledge in a challenging setting. All the students were a credit to the school and agreed they would like to revisit in 4 years’ time to see just how much their saplings had grown.