Biodiversity in your school

What can you do to make a difference?

What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity is all the different living things that can be found in one area.

This variety of animals, plants, bacteria and other microorganisms make up our natural world and, in a healthy ecosystem, they all work together in harmony maintaining and supporting balance and life. 

Why is Biodiversity important?

 Without a wide range of life working together we cannot have healthy ecosystems, and it is these ecosystems that provide food, water and shelter for all life including us. 

 

Flowers
Robin

More space makes a big difference.

The Wildlife Trust states that

“those that have the least access to nature also have the worst levels of physical and mental wellbeing. Seeing birds near our homes, walking through green spaces filled with wildflowers, and along rivers that are clean and clear, reduces stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression.”

With this in mind we should surely be increasing the natural area available for school children to play, study and relax in, not reducing it.

Recommended non-hard-surfaced social area is 2,600m2 for a school with 1,000 pupils, and recommended habitat space is a paltry 0.5m2 per pupil.

Landscaping to encourage nature doesn’t have to be labour intensive; in fact, it is much less costly to maintain than mown grass. As an added bonus, if every school had an area dedicated to increasing biodiversity, think of the positive impact it would have on our wildlife.

Sir David Attenborough recently commented, “no one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”

Our wildlife is in crisis and more of our children than ever are struggling with mental health issues. A nature-rich school environment could help with both of these issues.

No child should leave school having had no experience of our native wildlife; and they should all know, at the very least, what a stinging nettle looks like!

5 ways to increase biodiversity on a school site

Plant a hedge

The RSPB states that hedges may support up to 80% of our woodland birds, 50% of our mammals and 30% of our butterflies. Schools can apply to the woodland trust for free hedgerow trees.

Set up bird boxes and bird feeders

It is best to avoid nest boxes that have a combined bird feeder, and boxes should not be sited too close to the bird feeders, either, as visitors to the latter could disturb nesting birds.

Introduce a patch of meadow

Clear an area of grass and sow wildflower seeds (the most successful meadows are created using a seed mix suitable for the soil type).

Introduce a log pile

Stack logs where they will stay moist, but not get too cold (dappled shade is best). Decaying wood is an important resource for numerous insects, which themselves provide food for small mammals and birds.

Dig a pond

This can be the most costly addition and brings health and safety issues. However, if a large or even medium sized pond is impossible a buried half barrel or tubtrug will still introduce a huge variety of invertebrate species and amphibians to your site.

Resources

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Teacher Resources

We have put together some useful resource for Teachers, all available for download.

Useful Links