Bunscoill nature journalling

School's nature journalling project

Pupils of Bunscoill Ghaelgagh and their families took part in a Bea Feie (Wildlife) journalling project to stay closer to nature during and after lockdown. Their teacher Aalin Clague tells us about it:

Teaching during lockdown was a real challenge. To begin with, I tried to design tasks that could be done in the home with common household materials. As restrictions lifted and we were given the freedom to get outdoors more often, I wanted to encourage families to spend as much time as possible enjoying nature together.

I decided to organise Bea Feie, a whole school project to create nature journals. I made the guidelines as flexible as I could, to try to suit different family circumstances and different interests.

I made suggestions about the sorts of skills that could be incorporated, such as observation, measuring, drawing, photography and research.

Families responded very positively and chose a wide range of subjects to investigate, from lichen to butterflies.

We were very well supported by wonderful resources created for families during lockdown by various wildlife charities, which I gathered together on our school website for families to easily access.

Jo Overty, from UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man, helped me to source resources and facilitated a wonderful virtual school visit from Rowan Henthorn and Dr Peter Duncan, who gave talks on marine life and the danger of marine plastics to students and their families via video conferencing - a new experience for all of us.

Once school reopened, pupils brought in or emailed in their journals for us to share and enjoy.

We also carried on filling them, with a walk along the old railway line that's close to school.

Dawn Dickens, Education Officer with Manx Wildlife Trust, came in to look at them before the end of term and to give out some prizes.

The journals were excellent and I am sure they will be something special for pupils and their families to look back on.

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