In 2012 43 projects won Wessex Watermark Awards. They ranged from community allotments, to schools’ outdoor learning spaces. History has not been forgotten either with support of Wareham’s Medieval Town Pound. The Hawk and Owl Trust, a new hedgehog ‘Hogspital’, and precious habitat for wading birds at West Sedgemoor Reserve in Somerset have been Watermarks winners. As have ponds, woodlands and the oldest hedge in the Bristol area.
Here are just some of the projects receiving their Watermark Award in 2012
"Alice Park Community Garden is a really nice place to be” Christine Hart member of Transition Larkhall said. “More and more community groups like ours are coming together around the country to make gardens and allotments for the sheer delight and pleasure of being involved in producing something both beautiful and practical.”
Danesfield Church of England School’s woodland walk is already providing a great opportunity for discovery and exploration. “The outdoor classroom will mean we can use the natural environment as a teaching resource to inspire children about their environment and how they can help safeguard it for future generations.” Nigel Johnson, Senior Teacher at Danesfield said
A water harvesting scheme for Diggers Field Allotment Society in Langport – a transition town in Somerset, will help residents grow organic produce and reduce Langport’s food miles.
“Nothing we teach about pond life and its environment could possibly be as riveting as watching tadpoles develop day by day into small frogs.” Steve Heath, Hemington Primary School’s Headteacher said. “Which is we are delighted that Wessex Water can support our efforts to build a dipping platform, the children will benefit enormously.”
Henleaze’s veteran hedge is probably the oldest structure in the area. Estimated to be 600 years old it has been adopted by a group of local people for its care and management. At ninety metres long this veteran has been a silent witness to 600 years of local life, as well as providing a wildlife corridor and habitat for a wide variety of small mammals, birds, bats and insects. The hedge is recorded on old maps and consists of seven woody species – a reliable indicator of its antiquity.
North Cadbury Church of England Primary School shows its delight with its Wessex Watermark to help restore its school pond. “We have taken advice from our local amphibian society” Anne Craggs from North Cadbury C. Of E. Primary School said. “The children are thrilled that their pond will once again be home to a variety of plants and pond life creatures – the most exciting of which is the Great Crested Newt.”
Carmel Christian School in Brislington were undaunted by the logistics of turning an underused courtyard into a garden, they have called their project ‘Mission Possible’. One of their priorities was to create a ‘bug city’ and one young pupil commented: “I would like to find a bug somewhere in the playground, can we have some dirt to dig and flowers to smell”.
Dorset Flora Group’s popular week of walks is run entirely by volunteers and has been running since 2009. The programme of walks covered sites all over the county chosen for their exceptional botanical interest. “Dorset is a county which is rich in wild flower habitats,” said Robin Walls, Chairman of the Dorset Flora Group, “and what better way to attract people of all ages to the variety and beauty of these areas then to go walking with them. The weather was rather more challenging this year, but the walks continued regardless of the rain.”
Selwood Academy in Frome has been asked by WISE – ‘We Inspire Sustainable Education’ to be a flagship school to promote sustainability in Somerset schools. Their old school pond has a small colony of great crested newts, challenging the school to create not only a water habitat for the newts but a terrestrial habitat too.
Freshford Pre-School place a big emphasis on creative activities for their young children. “We want to promote their awareness and understanding of biodiversity and to encourage them to respect their environment.” Claudia Towner, Chair of Freshford Pre-School’s Committee said. With a modest budget they are transforming a disused space behind their school into a small garden into an area of biodiversity.