The Schools for Wildlife initiative requires support from school leaders and active involvement from staff, as well as a long-term commitment and the willingness to involve students in decision-making.
The 4 Steps to a wilder community methodology is a series of carefully designed measures to help schools maximise the success of their Wildlife ambitions.
While the Four Steps are the most important aspect of Schools for Wildlife, participants also have the opportunity and will be encouraged and supported, to use the initiative to work towards external awards, such as RSPB’s Schools’ Wild Challenge and Big Schools’ Birdwatch.
1: School Wildlife Council
The school wildlife council will be the heartbeat of your Schools for Wildlife journey. The council should:
Primary Schools: Your school wildlife council will, ideally, be represented by two pupils from each of KS2, KS3 & KS4, and an adult member including a parent, governor, or member of staff.
Secondary Schools: Your council can be adapted to suit your setting, however, should involve at least 12 members.
Wildlife councils should meet at least once per half term and will be responsible for informing the rest of the school of its meeting minutes, actions, and future plans.
2: Biodiversity & Wildlife Review
Understanding the current state of nature within your school grounds, community, and the UK as a whole is an important step to ensuring the correct action plan can be produced.
Under supervision from our licenced ecologists, your wildlife council will use fun, research-based, and hands-on ecology strategies to understand the current biodiversity within your area, via wildlife counts, plant and tree identifying, and ecology surveys such as mammal track pits and bat detecting.
3: Biodiversity Action Plan
Using the data collected from the wildlife and biodiversity review, your wildlife council will design a biodiversity action plan to help improve the biodiversity within the school grounds and the local community.
Steps will be taken to plan what action will be taken, timelines for those actions, and how they will be implemented. These actions maybe are as simple as renovating a current bug hotel or maybe more complex such as designing a new wildlife garden.
4: Community Outreach
Engaging and inspiring the local community about the wildlife council’s work around your school grounds is key to biodiversity growth.
We believe that if the local residents see that your school is passionate about protecting wildlife then they will support the growth of local biodiversity and will be encouraged to take steps to improve their own gardens and green spaces.
Together you can ensure that wildlife has a safe haven to live in harmony with humans.
Links to the National Curriculum
Ensuring the Schools for Wildlife initiative holds the vital links to the curriculum is a vital aspect of our foundation.
Although the Wildlife Council will be key to ensuring your Schools for Wildlife journey is a success, we want to ensure the whole school learns about the important role nature plays in our living landscape. We’ve designed a range of lesson plans and activities for teachers to use in the classroom. We also support and encourage schools to utilise events, such as a wildlife week, etc.