Green transformation day held at Durham primary school

Last week the British Ecological Society (BES) held a ‘green transformation’ day at Laurel Avenue Primary School in Durham, where pupils took part in tree planting, bird watching and nature-based arts and crafts.

The all-day event involved pupils, teachers, BES Staff and volunteers participating in a range of nature activities. With the help of the children, Over 100 native trees were planted to create a new woodland area in the school. The children also had the opportunity to learn about the importance of native woodlands and the tree species they planted.

Other activities included making birdfeeders, nature-themed arts and crafts and birdwatching, with sightings of starlings, robins and a red kite flying over the school.

Alexa Roditi, Outreach Project Assistant at the BES, said:

“The BES had a super day at Laurel Avenue primary, getting to work with all the pupils from Reception to Year 6. We spent the day outdoors, learning about local nature and making positive changes to the school grounds – from planting trees to encouraging nearby wildlife.

“The children clearly loved getting stuck into the different activities and were definitely not deterred by a little rain and mud! Thanks to their efforts, the school now has a wildlife-friendly area and are planning more green transformation activities for the future – we can’t wait to see what they get up to next.”

The green transformation day was part of the BES’s ‘Connecting schools to nature in North East England’ project, which has been improving 10,000 school children’s connection to nature across 47 primary schools in disadvantaged and isolated areas of the North East of England, covering County Durham, North Yorkshire, the Scottish borders and into the Pennines. 

The project is being delivered by the BES in partnership with citizen science organisation MammalWeb and engagement charity SMASH-UK and is funded by the UK government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. 

The project has been opening the doors to nature in multiple school grounds through wildlife-friendly activities such as creating wildflower meadows, building hedgehog-highways, and installing insect hotels and camera traps, allowing children to discover and monitor the wildlife in their schools. An online learning portal developed for the project has given school children and teachers the opportunity to track their achievements and aid learning. 

The BES has also provided ecology training to teachers across the region through delivering workshops across the partner schools, as well as upskilling 44 volunteers who have been assisting teachers to deliver biodiversity enhancements to school grounds.   

By providing a green transformation to school grounds in disadvantaged areas, these activities and workshops have been revealing the benefits of nature to those currently least able to access them. 

Sammy Mason, Outreach Project Officer at the BES, said: 

“Helping to develop the environmental educators of tomorrow is such an exciting prospect, and vital as we emerge from a pandemic. This project has helped scores of ecologists and educators bridge the covid skills gap, supporting young individuals as they enter the job market and pursue diverse career paths within the environmental sciences.”

Learn more about our Connecting Schools to Nature project



Durham Community Grant Foundation

To enhance the impact of the project, the County Durham Community Foundation and Banks Community Fund have recently awarded the BES vital funds to support the green transformation of primary schools in Durham and surrounding villages. The funding will allow local primary schools to achieve their goals of attracting more wildlife to their grounds, improving outdoor education in the process.

Green Recovery Challenge Fund

The project is one of ninety nature projects across England to have been awarded funding from the Government’s multi-million pound Green Recovery Challenge Fund to boost green jobs and nature recovery. The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.