Shrewsbury School pupils may be absent from the School Site at the moment – busily engaged in an extensive academic, co-curricular and pastoral remote learning programme. But the fruits of their labours in the School’s new Biology Wildlife Garden are very much in evidence (and regularly shared in photographic form with the school community), providing welcome and hopeful signs of the ongoing rhythms of the natural world and the approach of summer.
Positioned next to the Biology building named after Charles Darwin, the School’s most renowned former pupil (who would surely have heartily approved of the project), the garden has been designed by members of the School’s Natural History Society to provide a haven for wildlife, an educational resource and a space that can be enjoyed by the whole school community and visitors alike.
More than 30 pupils from all age groups have been busily working in the garden since September, planting 725 wildflower bulbs and native perennials and sowing wildflower seeds that will encourage birds, butterflies, bees and other pollinators. With the help of the grounds team, they’ve created a pond and are eagerly looking forward to welcoming groups for pond-dipping sessions. And they’ve been putting up bat boxes and nesting boxes for house sparrows, grey wagtails and tree creepers.
Just before the end of the Easter term, they were delighted to welcome the arrival of Red Mason Bee cocoons and place them in a specially created release box. These small solitary bees are incredible pollinators, and the Biology Garden is part of the locally-based Red Mason Bee Guardian Scheme.
“If you are looking for people who are passionate about the environment, our generation is probably the best place to look,” says Sixth Former Jude Huffer. He is one of a group of Natural History Society members who have recently formed an Eco Committee. The group has quickly gained support from fellow pupils keen to get involved and has exciting plans for the future. “All schools have a major role to play in the education of ‘nature-based solutions’ and planning for a future that includes and values the natural world. Shrewsbury School, with its links to Darwin and celebration of the Natural World, needs to be at the forefront.”