Following on from the creation of the woodlands in 2014/2015, the woods have grown, creating a diverse habitat for many different plants, animals, insects and birds, which inhabit the woodlands. Early on in spring a mosaic of colours poke through and continue through till Autumn, displaying an array of colour and smells. Our woodlands are the equivalent of a busy urban town, with animals and insects scurrying about along the mown grassed areas, over and around the pond to high up in the tree tops.
As a small woodland, all the management is carried out by the staff and pupils in the school, using only hand tools and small pieces of machinery (strimmers and mowers) to reduce our impact on our environment. Pupils, in their Land-based studies and other courses learn invaluable skills, enforcing science, maths and English as well as practical skills, preparing for further learning and life.
Within our woodlands, many areas are mown but some are left wild and rugged. It is important within a woodland to provide a diverse landscape/ habitat. In the mown area of the woodland, birds can be seen basking in the sunlight which penetrates through to the woodland floor, while using the grass areas to forage for small insects for food. Nettles providing hiding areas for the eggs of caterpillars, while aphids munch away on the leaves attracting ladybirds as a bio control measure who use it as a drive through take away! Careful management of our ponds creates an aquatic habitat for Water Boatman, Pond Skaters, Water Snails (Pond and Ramshorn) frogs and toads and also a plethora of nymphs and larva of the Damselfly and Dragonfly.
As we move forward with the development of our woodlands, lots of new exciting areas are planned over the next couple of years. Owing to the success of our fire area, which has now been outgrown, a new area is planned with the introduction of a new larger fire pit, allowing for greater use and the cooking of a range of foods. To further introduce more wildlife to the woodlands, existing areas will be reinforced with a new wildflower species, helping to create a thriving habitat for the many different animal, insects and birds which utilise the area either seasonally or all year round. Like many woodlands, animals and plant life continues when everyone goes home at the end of the day. To help give us a greater insight into the hidden world, cameras will be used to delve into the ponds, looking at under water life, but to also watch what happens when people are not to be seen! A new woodland blog will help us deliver weekly updates on our woodlands, so watch out on the Woodlands Academy and CIT website for further details and reports.