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STUDENTS TAUGHT VALUABLE LESSONS AT BRANSTON LEAS WOODS

Local school children in Branston took time out of the classroom to learn about the importance of protecting areas of natural woodland during a dedicated educational visit last week.

Tying into their studies, years 8 and 9 pupils from Abbot Beyne Secondary School in Winshill attended a dedicated workshop session led by a team from the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, St. Modwen’s partners on the Branston Leas Wood project.

Standing in over 82 acres besides the River Trent, Branston Leas Woods will, when complete, boast 21,000 trees, including fruit trees and rare Black Poplars. The area will also include seven acres of meadowland suitable for wetland bird species, as well as playing home to grazing livestock which will help manage and increase the biodiversity of the site.

St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, has teamed up with The Woodland Trust, the National Forest Company and the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to deliver the new beauty spot that will become part of The National Forest and is set to be enjoyed by generations to come.

Shaun Rimmer, of The Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, the organisation managing the new woodland in partnership with St. Modwen, said: “Hosting educational visits is one of the best parts of my job – it’s great to not only be able to talk to young people about the importance of creating new woodland areas and habitats, but to actually show them first hand.

“A huge amount of valuable learning takes place in the classroom, but it’s so much better to get the student’s involved in actually building habitats and learning about conservation. The students were really engaged and hopefully took some key learnings away from the day – there may even be a few budding conservationist’s among them!”

So far, over 15,000 trees and 14,000 bluebell bulbs have been planted at Branston Leas Woods, with six successful community planting events having already taken place this year – the team will be on site in August to create a hay meadow, as part of the wider work to create the new meadowland.

Fiona Airey, Assistant Headteacher at Abbot Beyne Secondary School, said: “The visit today was incredibly valuable and will form a key part of our ‘Achievement for All’ programme, which aims to raise aspirations and achievement for students.

“At Abbot Beyne, we are committed to success for all our students – both academic and non-academic achievement – and field trips that take learning out of the classroom not only provides students with a deeper understanding of the world around them, but can also encourage pupils to start thinking about what they may be interested pursuing in further study, or even a career, later down the line.”

St. Modwen is committed to working with local schools surrounding its developments, and as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations this year, has launched a National Photography Competition with 30 participating schools across the UK. John Taylor High School in Barton-under-Needwood and Paulet High School in Stapenhill are both representing the Midlands and have visited the Branston Leas scheme as part of the competition.