Worthing schools selected for vital pollination programme

A bumble bee pollinating strawberry flowers
A bumble bee pollinating strawberry flowers

FOUR Worthing schools are buzzing having been chosen to help protect Britain’s dwindling population of pollinating insects.

Students at Worthing High School, Oak Grove College, Thomas A’Becket Infant and Thomas A’Becket Junior schools will be working with Learning Through Landscapes as part of the UK-wide Polli:Nation programme.

Karen Hayler, business manager at Worthing High, said: “We have been chosen as the main lead school in Worthing for the Polli:Nation programme.

“We will be transforming our outdoor spaces to become pollinator-friendly habitats, with the support of the national school grounds charity, Learning through Landscapes.”

The schools submitted a joint application in October last year and were recently named as four out of 260 across the UK that have been chosen for the unique programme.

David Hodd, national project manager, said: “It is critical that we address the declining numbers of pollinating insects in Britain and the support of schools and communities in Worthing will certainly contribute to the overall success of the Polli:Nation programme.

“The Worthing schools’ joint application demonstrated their plans of action, the strength of their commitment to the project and the quality of collaboration, both with each other and the wider community.

“Their application was reviewed and selected as an exceptional submission, resulting in their involvement in the programme.

“Over a period of three years, each of the schools will now be supported by a Polli:Nation facilitator from Learning through Landscapes - the national school grounds charity responsible for the project.”

Linking to the National Pollinator Strategy, schools will now explore how to grow more plants, leave areas to grow wild and leave nests undisturbed.

The schools will have the opportunity to contribute vital data in a pollinator survey from OPAL Imperial College London.

Mr Hodd added: “The children, teachers and members of the community will be equipped with all of the necessary tools and skills to help scientists to develop an accurate understanding of the current state of the habitats for Britain’s pollinating insects, and the potential to develop these further.”

Head teacher Carolyn Dickinson said it was an honour to be making a contribution to such important research.

“Not only does Polli:Nation offer our students a fantastic opportunity to develop their own environment to aid the declining population of pollinators, it also offers the perfect platform to consider our environment and pesticides on a global scale, while also involving members of the local community.”

The Polli:Nation project has been developed in association with sector partners The Field Studies Council, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation, OPAL Imperial College London, Stirling University, Bumblebee Conservation Trust and The Conservation Volunteers.

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