Youngsters at two South Tyneside schools have been getting to grips with the environment by planting the seeds of their areas’ natural future.
Pic caption: (back, left to right) South Tyneside Councillor Geraldine Kilgour, Northumbrian Water project manager Loren Jennings, Wildfowl & Wetland Trust SuDS learning and engagement officer Nikki Woodward; (front, left to right) Fellgate Primary pupils Matthew Carling (8), Layla Ross (8) and Lily Herkes (7).
The children from Fellgate Primary School and St Joseph’s Primary, in Jarrow, have taken part in Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust SUDS for Schools planting days, supported by Northumbrian Water and South Tyneside Council.
It follows the installation of SUDS features – Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems –as part of a £4.5m response to flooding in the Fellgate area of Jarrow in 2012, tackling the existing and future flood threat from intense rainfall.
Northumbrian Water and South Tyneside Council came together to deliver the project, realising opportunities to enhance the local biodiversity with the creation of ponds, the introduction of wild plants and planting of additional trees.
A number of planting sessions were organised in the grounds of the two schools, following the completion of the work at the start of the year. As well as pupils from both schools, dignitaries, including Councillor Geraldine Kilgour, ward member for Fellgate and Hedworth, incorporating Calf Close, have also helped out.
Loren Jennings, project manager at Northumbrian Water, said: “Reducing flooding is a top priority for Northumbrian Water and using sustainable drainage systems allows us to tackle problems caused by surface water. Working in the area, in partnership with South Tyneside Council, gave us a real opportunity to not only reduce the risk of future flooding, but to make a positive impact on the environment. The WWT SUDS For Schools project tied in perfectly, allowing us to also engage children from Jarrow and connect them to the environment in a way that they will be able to see develop for years to come.”
Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: “We understand the impact that flooding has on our communities. With this scheme, as well as providing additional reassurance for our residents, we also saw an opportunity to create new natural habitats and enhance biodiversity.”
Councillor Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families, added: “I am delighted that local schoolchildren have been able to get involved in planting these seeds which builds their knowledge of their local environment in a very practical way. Through the creation of ponds and wild flora, children now have access to a long term education facility.”
Nikki Woodward, SuDS Learning and Engagement Officer at the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust, said: “The children have been really involved in the whole creative process, from designing the SuDS to planting the seeds and flowers that will grow in them. It has been a pleasure working with them and I hope they’re proud of these beautiful habitats and the benefit they’ll bring the school and the community for years to come.”
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