Walbottle students unveil their new wildlife pond!

Our hard-working students at Walbottle school working towards their horticulture qualifications as part of our Therapeutic Horticulture project unveil their latest achievement in the Garden, a new purpose-built wildlife pond.

On Tuesday 8th May, students unveiled their purpose-built wildlife pond in the Walbottle Garden. The creation of the pond marked a significant milestone in the larger redevelopment of the Walbottle Garden, a space which had, until recently, become overgrown and disused.

Our Therapeutic Horticulture Project offers groups of young people with ASD or learning difficulties and complex needs the chance to undertake a level 1 City and Guilds qualification in practical horticulture. Increasing self-confidence and strengthening social skills, this project aims to lessen feelings of social exclusion, encouraging young people to feel positive about their futures.

The creation of a wildlife pond proved to be the largest project to date and involved clearing the ground, building the pond and creating a protective structure to deter predators such as heron. To complete the pond, students planted aquatic plants and introduced tadpoles to their new habitat. It is hoped that as the plants grow and the pond develops as a natural space, more wildlife will visit, including dragonflies and newts.

To say thank you to the Children’s Foundation for their support, students sold home-grown daffodils to staff and students, and donated the proceeds to the charity. Students plan to continue fundraising for the Children’s Foundation, and are planting hanging baskets to sell later in the year.

Ms K Lord, Head Teacher at Walbottle Campus, said: “I am very proud of what our students have achieved in the Walbottle Garden. Our students have taken responsibility for the garden and have shown determination and ambition in their efforts to improve the space and care for nature and wildlife. We are grateful to the Children’s Foundation for enabling our students to take part in this project and hope to continue developing the garden for years to come.”

One student who took part in the project, said: “I really enjoyed working on the wildlife pond. It was great to learn how to build the protective structure.”

Another student commented: “My favourite part was releasing the tadpoles!”