New nature hub for Shoreham school takes shape

The new nature hub at Herons Dale Primary School in Shoreham is taking shape after months of fundraising.

Supporters held various events and with the help of a donation from Adur East Lions, a total of £3,500 has so far been raised for the project.

Pupils planting in the garden

Pupils planting in the garden

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The aim is to give the children an area for hands-on learning, a place where they can plant seeds to find out where food comes from, care for the plants and then pick, cook and eat their crops, as well as learn about lifecycles by watching frog spawn change to tadpoles and then frogs.

Tracy Vise, a teaching assistant and Friends of Herons Dale committee member, said: “When the idea of a nature hub was born, it was decided it would include fruit and vegetable growing, a wildlife pond and a sensory garden area.

“Fund raising has consisted of bingo evenings, mud runs and a Christmas lights walk, all supported by the Mud Sisters, plus a youth mile run.

Clive Gravett, founder of The Budding Foundation, with Tracy Vise at Herons Dale Primary School in Shoreham

Clive Gravett, founder of The Budding Foundation, with Tracy Vise at Herons Dale Primary School in Shoreham

“We are very lucky to have received the support of community groups such as the Rotary club, Legal and General, 10-2-2 slimming club and the Adur East Lions, who have all made donations to this project as well.”

Work started at Easter, when B C Groundcare installed the fencing needed. The company then returned last week to put in a raised wildlife pond, which will mean all the children will be able to access it.

Tracy said: “The pond has a lovely deep end, leading on to a shallow end with a small area with pebbles, which will allow birds and insects to come down and have a drink.

“The pond even has its very own frog ramp to allow the frogs to get up to the pond. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be planting the pond up and then it will be a matter of waiting to see who comes along to make it their home.

The new area provides hands-on learning for the  the children

The new area provides hands-on learning for the the children

“We have also had a lovely donation of two planters in memory of two former students who attended the school. These were filled with a donation of compost from Tates Garden Centre, along with The Budding Foundation, before being planted up. These planters are taking pride of place in the area.”

The Fishersgate branch of Men in Sheds will be helping by making raised planters and the frame for a plastic bottle greenhouse. Members will also be cutting the wood for bug houses and bird boxes, so the children can put these together themselves, using the appropriate tools.

Tracy said: “Everything that is offered in this area will not only give the children amazing hands-on experiences, they are also gaining further life skills, which will complement other activities and lessons that happen in the school.

“Over the coming months and probably years much more work will be done in this area to include fruit tree planting and sensory planting. We have a small collection of animal ornaments and hope to see this grow over time.”

The pupils will be caring for the plants and then pick, cook and eat their crops

The pupils will be caring for the plants and then pick, cook and eat their crops

Herons Dale Primary School, in Hawkins Crescent, is always happy to take donations that will enhance this area for the children. Please telephone the school 01273 596904.