Children today are losing connection with their environment as the rise of technology demands increasingly of their time and attention. Research shows that fresh air, time spent outdoors, time to relax and be peaceful, connection with nature is essential for our mental health and well being. Yet, with our busy lives, this can easily be forgotten. We would like to provide this opportunity for our school children and local community with a project that brings technology and the environment together.
In school we have the technology (iPads, Chromebooks etc) but we need a place to apply this which connects to the cycles of the natural world, the seasons, life and nature. We would like to build a sheltered area to observe, record, identify and research wildlife where children, families and visitors to school can put technology to use to connect them to the world of nature and wildlife.
At Hillside Avenue Primary in Norwich, we are very fortunate that we have a great outdoor space with huge potential. However, the once well-established pond (marked on OS maps as a wildlife area) has sadly fallen in to disrepair. The lining has disintegrated so no longer holds water, meaning it no longer provides a haven for wildlife. Protected newts still survive there, but the conditions for them to thrive are limited.
The area around the pond is not used by pupils and has faded into insignificance as a neglected part of the school grounds. We would like to completely rebuild this area, to make a rich resource centre for wildlife study. This would include constructing a sheltered area for children to use where they can observe wildlife, use technology for research, to take time-lapse recordings, photos, films etc. We would like to recreate a wildlife pond, and equip it with a wide range of native plants to create a rich ecosystem for wildlife to thrive.
What was once just a mark on an OS map could become a haven for creatures once again, but, more importantly, become a place where technology has a purpose in drawing young people to be interested and genuinely engaged in their environment; this would bring a whole new future, a new sense of well-being, an improvement in mental health and new perspective for a generation which could otherwise so easily lose connection with the natural world as we live in the increasingly digital age.
The money we raise through this crowdfunder will allow us to implement the first phase of the project, to replace the leaking pond liner and restock the pond to allow its ecosytem to re-establish itself. Surrounding planting will be chosen to encourage an abundance of wildlife back in to the area.
If any local businesses are in a position to support us with donations of materials or labour, rather than cash pledges, we'd also love to hear from you.
Thank you so much for your support!