Extending Biodiversity & Ecotrail at Newtown School
Returning to Newtown School in Waterford this week, we were delighted to see that all the new plantings are coming along well, and there is a great selection of vegetables soon ready for harvesting, including broad beans, lettuce and herbs. The students and staff in the school are also getting on board with growing food, and have taken the challenge to grow peas as part of a new nationwide challenge.
Newtown School have been looking to set up an ecotrail through the school grounds. With the Transition Year students we began the process of setting this up, which will be followed on in the new school year. For our first exercise we set out an area for the ecotrail, with a mix of wooded and grassy areas. Working in teams, the students began gathering information on the environmental and climatic features of the area, and making sketch plans of the route. This will form the basis of the ecotrail, taking a variety of different niches along the way.
Biodiversity is incredibly important for a sustainable and healthy environment, and we took a look at the biodiversity along the ecotrail. The students made a list of the species present in three different areas, comparing sheltered wooded areas with grassy areas, and learning about plant identification. While there was some difference in species between each area, on the whole the ecotrail displays a healthy mix of plants and insects, with many native Irish species. It is great that the school is taking these steps to showcase its biodiversity, and look forward to seeing it progress in the coming weeks and months.