Success of Safari Programme Sparks Winter Workshops
OMSCo launches new education initiative
The Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo) is to launch a new winter education initiative for children, following the huge success of its recent Hedgerow Safari programme. Since May 2011, 45 events have taken place at 12 different farms and agricultural shows all over the country. The positive feedback from participants has sparked the cooperative to set up a winter workshop programme that will take the 'farmyard' into schools.
The new programme will be run by 'safari leader', Finlay McLaren, who will be visiting schools across the UK to teach them all about biodiversity on organic farms. An interactive 'hedgerow' will form a central part of the workshops and there will also be a special focus on bats, with the children making bat boxes that will be put up on organic farms next spring.
Finlay comments: "The safaris have really struck a cord with adults and children alike. They have loved the experience of being on farm learning about why organic hedgerows are such important habitats. We wanted to build on this and create an education programme to run during the winter months when there isn't as much to see in the hedges.
"The workshops will still have the hands-on elements that the kids have loved, with activities including creating colourful birds, bugs and bats to go on the hedge frieze, and we hope they will help them to really engage with conservation issues. The new initiative has also been developed as a way to reach areas such as inner-city London, where it is difficult to get the children out on to a local farm."
Chris Penny, a teacher from Bridge Learning Campus in Bristol, which attended a Hedgerow Safari in June, praised the Hedgerow Safari programme, saying: "It was a brilliant day and the kids loved it! So many memories that the children will cherish, they were full of beans telling everybody about it when they got back."
Sue Prince, farmer at Beechenhill organic farm in Staffordshire, which hosted a number of safaris this summer, commented: "We enjoyed our Hedgerow Safaris enormously. Waiting to see which creatures would pop out of the traps was as exciting as seeing the children's sheer wonder as they saw their first mouse, vole or caterpillar!"
The Hedgerow Safaris that have taken place this year have been spread across the country from Galloway to Cornwall, and Shropshire to Lancashire. The safaris elevate the humble hedgerow to a thrilling safari route for the children, who take an exciting journey of discovery, identifying plants, looking for insects and hunting for signs of the many animals and birds that live in the hedgerows. The on-farm safari programme will kick off again next spring following the Winter Workshops. For more information or to book a Winter Workshop for your local school please contact us.
Hedgerow Safari season
It's officially the start of the Hedgerow Safari season!! Our brilliant new van and equally brilliant new event leader, Finlay McLaren, are setting off around the UK on a mission to get children out on to our organic farms. Fin will be helping youngsters identify plants, look for insects and hunt for signs of the many animals and birds that live in organic hedgerows. If they're lucky they also get to see little animals like woodmice and bank voles.
A walk on the wildside
CHRIS PACKHAM JOINED BRISTOL STUDENTS FOR A WALK ON THE WILDSIDE
Wildlife TV presenter Chris Packham (Springwatch, Really Wild Show) teamed up with The Organic Milk Cooperative (OMSCo) to encourage Bristol school children to get back to nature and discover what creepy crawlies and furry friends live at Hill House Farm in Dundry, Bristol.
Situated on the top of Dundry Hill, overlooking the hustle and bustle of the city of Bristol, Hill House Farm has been in The Hurford family for over sixty years. Since they introduced organic wildlife-friendly farming practices over a decade ago, they say there has been a return of an amazing variety of wildflowers, insect species and mammals that had previously disappeared.
Students from St Anne’s Park Junior School in Bristol were invited to experience the wildlife on this organic dairy farm by joining Chris on a unique Hedgerow Safari. The morning began with an introduction from Chris and one of our Hedgerow Safari experts, before the group headed off to explore the farm’s hedges to see what wildlife they could find.
Chris says, “Children are increasingly losing touch with nature and there has been a significant change in the way that young people can access the countryside. The Hedgerow Safari initiative is important because it gives young people the opportunity to learn about our native wildlife. Organic farms provide a pesticide-free haven for a wide range of species including many that are now protected.”
To find out more about the Hedgerow Safari's and how they can enhance children's education visit the Hedgerow Safari page