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Two students lean in over a tray filled with pond water resting on a log stump.

Pond dipping delight at Bosbury Primary School

Tuesday 21 May 2024 11.55am

Tadpoles, Dragonfly and Water Boatman – a school pond, and new equipment, offers students at Bosbury Primary School the chance to see a wonderful array of wildlife up close.

In late April, officers in the Sustainability and Climate Change team at Herefordshire Council made a visit to Bosbury Primary School, who in last year were awarded £250 toward an environmental education project.

The funds awarded were in celebration of their winning contribution to the Greener Footprints School Poster competition, which the school chose to spend on pond dipping equipment including nets, viewing pots, pipettes, trays, and ID sheets.

The Council officers had the privilege of seeing the students in action, as they used their new equipment to discover the plants and invertebrates living in the on-site school pond. Between guiding the children and answering their questions, Mrs Turnbull gave us an insight into how the students use the resource.

“The pond is a result of a design competition we ran during lockdown, and it’s brought elements from a few of the entries. The idea for having a bridge crossing the pond would have come from one of the students, for example, and having the log seats around the outside would have come from another. We’ve repurposed lots of materials from other areas [of the school site], and used natural materials as much as we can.

Soon we’re going to plant wildflower seeds around the edge of the pond to attract more [insects], using the King’s wildflower seed mix we were given from a friend of the school who recently went to Highgrove.

We’re so lucky to be able to come out here, and to give the kids the chance to do this. How many of them will otherwise get the chance to see what lives in a pond? We’re surprised at how much [wildlife] we are seeing actually, considering it hasn’t been here that long.

We try and use the equipment across other areas [of the curriculum], for other topics – the pots we use to gather and separate soils for soil studies, and there’s a nearby river so we’ve used it in their river studies.

We come out here to learn about all sorts of things, looking at the changing seasons, what’s here, or not here, look at the flowers growing to learn about different seed distribution, we’ll come out and do art, drawing things…

It’s great for the older kids, being able to have a tray each, so they can sit and look at what they’ve got in their own tray rather than having to share, when they’re drawing or whatever else.

And to be able to come out here without set objectives, just to see what we can find, is amazing. Because we might find something, like a dragonfly, and say ‘okay – let’s take learning in this direction, or that direction’

It’s so interesting to see how different the kids are – they come out here and they are so engaged, and it’s different sets of kids. In the classroom you have groups really engaged and listening, but out here it might be a completely different set of kids that are engaging. Of course you could teach them the same things in the classroom – I could stand in front of them and talk to them about these things - but it’s not the same.”

Thank you to Bosbury Primary School, Mrs Turnbull, and the students, for sharing their pond dipping excitement with us!