The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu joined the staff, parent volunteers and pupils at Bishopthorpe Infant School to formally open their new Wildlife Garden on Friday.

The project to develop the small unused space at the side of the main school playground was started over a year ago and it has involved support and contributions from local businesses, parents and volunteers.

Mr Andy Burt, Class Teacher, said, “The children’s ideas have been central to the development of this project and we have been inspired by their creativity. Some made box models to show what they would like to see in the space, others painted pictures or made lists of what they would like the area to contain.  Each of the volunteers working on the project have backgrounds in landscaping and they created final designs for our space using ideas taken from the children’s own designs. The designs were then shared with children and parents and the hard work of digging and clearing the area began. Many weekends were given over to the digging, clearing and preparation of the ground with teams of keen volunteers.”

The Archbishop with Ella, Bella, Bryn and Jacob in the new garden

The Archbishop with Ella, Bella, Bryn and Jacob in the new garden

There is a butterfly area with plants to attract insects, a bog garden, a den making area, a wildflower meadow and a story area with a willow arbour. The children planted each of these areas and parent volunteers also added a mixed hedge at the borders. A bird table, insect hotel and log pile are now in place to attract wildlife to the area.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “The natural world is a gift from God to enjoy; but we are also called to join with God in sustaining and caring for it.  It’s fantastic that Bishopthorpe School is putting the environment at the heart of school life and that so many volunteers have worked together to make this happen.  When we pull together as a community, the best is yet to be!”

Classes from Bishopthorpe Infant School take part in Forest Schools activities and, as the site develops and grows it will give scope for a whole range of creative activities. During the summer term, the school is planning a mosaic week with a visiting artist. The theme for the work will be inspired by the development of the wildlife area.

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