Lindsey Holmes, Project Manager, Your Community Greenspace Project

This academic year we have been running our first School in Residence programme as part of our National Lottery Heritage funded Your Community Greenspace project. We have been working with Year 3 children from Paston Ridings Primary School in Peterborough, who have been our 'Mini Rangers', taking part in sessions with Nene Park Trust staff both at their school and in the Park.

So far, the children have been very busy learning about the Park, meeting the wildlife, building dens, writing poems, making mazes and creating crafts from natural materials found in the Park - to name just a few activities. 

The children will be with us until the end of the summer term this year and still have lots of exciting activities to look forward to. For their next session in the Park, they will be creating their own river and learning about flow in the sand of the Otter Play area. They will also be going on a nature walk and looking for birds using binoculars on the viewing platforms at Heron Meadow.

One of the aims of the School in Residence programme is for Nene Park Trust to work with and learn from a longer connection with one school group and to offer those children the opportunity to connect with different greenspaces and access the important wellbeing benefits that come with that - a theme which is at the core of the Your Community Greenspace Project.

This residency will be the first of five, which will take place over the lifespan of the 5-year lottery-funded project. Each School in Residence will be different to allow us to learn more about different types of education sessions. Next year’s programme is not yet confirmed but the current plan is to focus on sustainable life skills and connect children with wider aspects of Nene Park Trust's work, including our share farming partnership on The Rural Estate.

We are currently in the process of evaluating the impact of the programme this year on the children involved, some of which had not visited Ferry Meadows before the start of the residency. My personal experience of the programme has shown me that the children are always excited to see Nene Park Trust staff and look forward to the next session with us, both in the Park and at their school.

Making this School in Residence programme happen has been a huge undertaking, led jointly by Your Community Greenspace project staff and the Nene Park Trust Education Team. In addition, one of the outcomes of this work is that, rather than just being led by the Education team, staff members from across the Trust have been involved in leading and supporting the sessions. Both staff and children have enjoyed meeting new faces and seeing different aspects of the work that Nene Park Trust does.

Keep an eye out for the 'Mini Rangers' in the Park; they may well be the next generation of Nene Park staff!

Find out more about Your Community Greenspace project here