Renowned botantist opens school's new pond

By Tim Clarke 03/05 Updated: 03/05 15:10

Buy photos » Headteacher Richard Wood and Professor Sir Ghillean Prance by The River School’s new pond. Picture by George Thompson.

A FORMER director of the world-renowned Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew has officially opened a school's new Lottery-funded pond.

Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, who is one of the country's leading botanists and ecologists, was guest of honour at the River School in Worcester where the pond was unveiled on Friday (April 27).

It was awarded a £6,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund after a recommendation from an ecological survey of the Fernhill Heath school’s eight acres of grounds by A Rocha, an international conservation body.

The pond was a centre for wildlife when the school was a horticultural college in the 1970s, before falling into disrepair in the early Eighties.

That was until a group of pupils and school site manager Marc Cawte rolled up their sleeves and set about trying to restore it to its former glory.

With the help of the Lottery cash the pond has been brought back to life and is now a key part of the independent Christian school's outdoor curriculum, which includes a new Forest School nestled among the ground's 250 protected trees.

Pupils will take part in pond dipping and the school is also planning to install a 'pond cam' to monitor activity around the clock.

Headteacher Richard Wood said: "The outdoor curriculum is a very important element for us as we want our pupils to go away from here having experienced something of the world that surrounds them.

"We don't think you can understand life very well if you don't understand what sustains it."

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