Undergraduates from Duchy College Rosewarne have been working in partnership with local primary school students to help the youngsters achieve an environmental award.

Nine Key Stage 2 students at Rosemellin Community Primary School in Camborne are working towards completing their individual John Muir awards, and to do this each participant must discover a wild place, explore its wildness and take personal responsibility for conserving it before sharing their experiences with others.

The award was launched by the John Muir Trust and aims to encourage people of all backgrounds to enjoy, connect with and care for wild places. Through the participant’s exploration of wild places and involvement in conservation, the scheme is intended to promote educational, social and personal development.

The wildlife workshops were designed and delivered by foundation degree conservation and countryside management students for their environmental education module.

Workshops titled Barn Owls – Rodents Beware, The Key to Survival and The Wonderful World of Woodland involved a combination of classroom and outdoor activities using facilities and locations around the campus. In one activity the pupils created small mammal nesting boxes that the Duchy students will help them place around their school grounds on a visit to identify opportunities for environmental education and conservation at the school.

Vanessa Adams, a learner mentor from Rosemellin school, said: "I just wanted to say thank you on behalf of everyone that attended for an amazing afternoon. The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and so did the staff. The Duchy students did a fantastic job keeping the children engaged and motivated.”

Conservation and countryside management student Charlotte Foxhall, from Helston, said: “The workshops have been challenging but hugely rewarding. We did lots of preparation to make it as fun as possible and to ensure they tried new things – my workshop saw them extracting small mammals bones from owl pellets under the microscopes which they really loved.

“It has been all the more worthwhile knowing we were helping them gain such a great award.
The John Muir award is a great way of getting kids outdoors, doing activities that they wouldn’t normally do and it inspires young conservationists to be more enthusiastic about wildlife. I loved seeing the pupils come out of their shells and get involved; it has been the highlight of the course for me so far.”

Environmental education module leader Gavin Nicol said: “The module is often challenging and students seem daunted by it to begin with but everybody comes away buzzing and feeling very satisfied. We greatly enjoyed having the Rosemellin pupils and staff here with us – I was very proud of my students; they seemed inspired by the whole experience. We thought the pupils were real stars.”

Andrew Counsell, head of Duchy College, said: “This was a great opportunity for the students to showcase their knowledge and learn new skills. It is wonderful to see how solid links with the local community can create such fantastic opportunities for our students, they enjoy sharing their skills with local schools and this has been a great experience for all involved.”