Crowcombe & Stogumber Primary Schools are working with the national plant conservation charity Plantlife on an exciting three year project called ‘Future Scientists’. We have been collecting data on important plant species of the Quantocks and we will be sharing our results with scientists and other project schools within a conference at the end of these three years.
A Plantlife scientist, Dr Alison Smith, is spending two days with us over this week, sharing her skills and knowledge and supporting us in taking part in scientific investigations within woods of the Quantocks AONB. You may have seen Dr. Alison on a recent episode of the BBC’s Countryfile, preserving lichens near Tar Steps. We are working with her as part of a wider project involving 10 schools across the south-west.
The project is focusing on the south-west because woods in the region are considered internationally important for their plant life, particularly their lichens, mosses and ferns. You can find out more about Plantlife’s work in south-west ‘Atlantic woodlands’, which is funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, by running an internet search for “Plantlife building resilience”.
As part of this project Plantlife is working with Year 5 and 6 to carry out surveys in Holford Combe. Children have been learning about the different plants that grow in the woods and the role they play in the woodland habitat. Children will learn to identify trees, mosses and lichens, and they will also collect meaningful data that will help woodland managers and conservation scientists to understand how best to look after our woods in the future.
Dr Alison is a knowledgeable, clear and inspiring scientist and a great role model for the children. We are incredibly lucky to a have botanist leading us in relevant fieldwork, in a local woodland of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Area Of Special Scientific Interest. To be outdoors, working and learning in the laboratory of the living world is a powerful and memorable experience that we hope has real impact on our pupils. They certainly engaged with all the tasks and have produced some excellent data.
In our second day, tomorrow, we will conduct the same scientific enquiries in another section of forest. Back in school, the children will work with Mrs.Savage, our maths specialist, to analyse and compare the data from each site surveyed.