The Cheshire & Wirral branch has been working closely with local schools for several years. We've given children the chance to "get closer to nature" and they've learnt identification and surveying techniques along the way.

The 2015 Butterfly Conservation Review made mention of the initiative which is very encouraging and all the schools involved asked that we continue with the programme.

How Your School Can Get Involved With Butterfly Conservation?

We can offer the following workshops for your school that link with Key Stage 1 and 2:

  • Understanding Butterflies and moths including identification sessions.
  • Looking at habitats, with a focus on local environments and incorporating visits to Local Nature Reserves.
  • Hands-on Science, understanding the bigger picture and how insects play their part in our world.

If you would like to discuss this further or to book a date for us to come to your school, please contact our Education Officer, Rupert Adams by emailing: rupertadams1@sky.com

In 2015 we asked ourselves if we do so something that would benefit the natural environment and pollinators in particular and give the children an understanding of the wider landscape and the pressures it faces? Throughout 2015 we’d worked with the Lion Salt Works Museum and Saltscape (a partnership project working together to celebrate, protect and enhance the post-industrial salt landscape of the Weaver Valley in Cheshire) to explore the possibilities of working with local schools. 

The question was how could we bring all this together?

Then, during the 2015 summer holidays, an invitation went to head teachers across the country. They were asked to consider forming local clusters of schools to apply to be part of a new national project, Polli:Nation.

Polli:Nation was a programme supporting schools in helping to protect the future of our seriously dwindling pollinating insects. The Polli:Nation project was developed by the school grounds charity, Learning Through Landscapes. 'Free' pollination by bees and other insects is worth over £400m to UK agriculture each year but their numbers are in severe decline. The innovative project engaged 260 schools to help transform their grounds into pollinator-friendly habitats. Data recording monitored changes in species diversity and numbers. A key driver was to increase awareness of nature and insects in particular.

A network of young enthusiasts in the 260 schools helped by spreading knowledge and creating green 'stepping stones' such as bug hotels and bee houses to enable insects to move with ease between different areas. Teachers, children and volunteers were trained to make the necessary changes to their school grounds to create habitats. They were supported by biodiversity and landscape experts from the charity to develop their environments by planting insect pollinator friendly areas using pollinator-friendly plants, building bug hotels and bee houses, planting night-blooming flowers to draw in moths, constructing bee-hives, as well as promoting changes to maintenance schedules, reducing pesticides and letting areas of the school grounds become wild. Our own Branch Education Officer played a major part in the work of the Cheshire schools involved in the project.

St Bedes Field Trip
St Bedes Field Trip

The programme which lasted 3 years also promoted and encouraged the development of existing provisions in schools such as orchards and wild meadow areas, green walls and ivy growth to attract the bees and other insects. One of our projects involved the creation of a lime rich habitat at Lion Salt Works Museum which reflects the diverse industrial landscapes, and biologically diverse habitats, created by the legacy of the chemical industries that were based in Northwich.

Four of the schools that we’d previously been working within the Northwich area (and another 8 across 2 other clusters in Cheshire) expressed an interest in the scheme and subsequently made a joint application to join the initiative. 

In October 2018 we learnt that the initiative had been awarded the Heritage Lottery Environmental Project Award. A great accolade for all involved.

Rupert Adams (Education Officer) and school children at Lion Salt Works
Lion Salt Works