A South West educational initiative which promotes awareness of the countryside and farming to school children is being expanded to Gloucestershire thanks to a grant from the CLA Charitable Trust (CLACT).
The trust is funded almost entirely by subscriptions and donations from members of the Country Land & Business Association (CLA), an organisation representing thousands of farmers, landowners and rural businesses. It provides grants to charities and community organisations who share its vision to help connect young people who are disabled or disadvantaged with the countryside and nature.
Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) South West was among the groups to successfully apply for funding, receiving £1,000. The charity represents the region’s farmers and landowners in the delivery of wildlife conservation. The funding received from the CLACT will be used by the organisation to extend its educational Kingfisher Award Scheme (KAS) to Gloucestershire.
First launched by the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and friends in 1992, KAS works with around 800 children a year. The initiative - which is already in operation across Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wiltshire – promotes awareness of the countryside, farming and conservation to school children.
The scheme is broken into three parts. Firstly, schools are invited a farm field day which aims to give pupils an understanding of how farming and wildlife are linked. Back in the classroom, children undertake further research on the themes of the field day – aligned to the national curriculum where possible - helping them to develop ideas and explore the natural environment at school and at home. Finally, participating schools are invited back to the farm for a picnic where they present their displays and compete for the KAS Trophy.
As KAS expands into Gloucestershire, Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South West will be working with a farm in Berkeley to deliver the scheme to four local schools.
Imogen Young, Assistant Farm Environment Advisor at FWAG South West, commented: “To receive funding from the CLA Charitable Trust is fantastic. The support will allow us to provide even more school children with the opportunity to engage with the countryside and natural environment around them. Participating in the Kingfisher Awards Scheme enables children to learn about the vital role farmers play in protecting wildlife and producing high quality food. It is vital to show children that farming can be both environmentally sensitive and commercially successful, and show the career opportunities is offers.”
Bridget Biddell, Chairman of CLACT, said: “The CLA Charitable Trust is pleased to be able to support The Kingfisher Awards Scheme, enabling 120 additional children in Gloucestershire to benefit from a greater understanding of farming and food production whilst working closely with nature. This is such important education for eight and nine year old’s, and is run through an awards scheme that has tried and tested results. I am delighted we can help with the core costs of this work.”
“The support will allow us to provide even more school children with the opportunity to engage with the countryside and natural environment around them. It is vital to show children that farming can be both environmentally sensitive and commercially successful, and show the career opportunities is offers.”