School children get back to nature in their new woodland classroom
- Credit: Simon Parkin
A woodland classroom offering school children the chance to learn about wildlife first-hand has opened at a nature park created by volunteers.
Youngsters from Scole Primary School attended the official opening of their new outdoor classroom at Scole Pocket Park.
The site has been transformed from an overgrown wilderness by a team of volunteers from Scole Nature Trails Trust (SNTT) who have created the public park from four pieces of land acquired by the parish council through donations and a loan.
Originally parcels of land acquired by Norfolk County Council in anticipation of the building of the two bypasses around Scole, the villagers have linked the four areas with footpaths and wildlife havens and the classroom is the latest part of the dream they have made reality.
Chris Brooks, from Scole, a SNTT trustee who has helped maintain the land and footpaths since 2004, said: "This is a massive day for us. We started with an area that was abandoned, overgrown and a dumping ground, with everything falling down.
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"We just had to do something with it as a parish council we didn't think we could afford to do it but events overtook us and we were offered the money and decided to buy it. But it was a massive undertaking."
The SNTT, working with the River Waveney Trust, has created the classroom in part of the park reserved just for the Scole Primary pupils, with outdoor tables and plenty of ways to learn about nature.
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Head teacher Claire Vosper said: "It is absolutely fantastic. Outdoor learning has been high profile this year. Every class has already been and they have done all sorts of things.
"It is perfect for learning about nature. The leaf lanterns they have made and hung up here shows they have been able to study all the leaf shapes. I think it has opened up the whole world of nature to them."
Emma Souter, reception class and outdoor learning teacher, said: "It's a nice opportunity for the children to be outside. Lots of them thrive outside and we can do all kinds of things down here, from maths and English to nature and wildlife. It has been great for our current topics of summertime and mini-beasts. They love it."
The latest annual public Scole Pocket Park Picnic will be held on July 6 from 3pm with an opportunity for parents to see the classroom.