Nature Information Board Unveiled to Help Inform and Educate

Nature Information Board unveiled – Year 1 children from Damers School took part in a nature project that was organised by The Harmony Project, funded by the Aurora Trust. The project asked schools to choose an activity that would encourage children outside to learn from nature. Edd Moore, Year 1 teacher and Eco Coordinator, led the nature project at Damers First School Dorchester, Dorset.

For the whole of the summer term of 2023 Year 1 children took part in a Wildflower Project with an enquiry question that asked, “What is my favourite wildflower?”

For inspiration, the children used a book called, ‘The Secret Sky Garden’ by Linda Sarah. Within the book a girl called Funni turns a disused carpark in to a fabulous wildflower meadow. The children then had the idea of rewilding an area of the Great Field Poundbury.

Their project then started by going on a nature walk to Poundbury Hillfort with Miles King from ‘People Need Nature’. They picked wildflower seeds and later sowed them on a bare piece of land on the Great Field. The Duchy of Cornwall had given permission for the children to re-wild the area turning it into “Damers’ Meadow”.

The children then learned how to put together their own “Nature Journal” documenting the wildflowers, trees, insects, birds, vegetables, fruits in the school grounds using pictures and writing about what they had discovered. They used this knowledge to name the same items when walking locally at weekends with their families. They also collected more wildflower seeds sowing these on “Damers Meadow”. As a result he Great Field bloomed over the Summer holidays attracting many bees and butterflies. As a follow up the children went with their families at weekends to Dorset Wildlife Trust sites, in particular Kingcombe and Lorton Meadows, to see what else they could discover.

Tours of the school grounds were given by the children to their families, other classes in the school, Miles King (People Need Nature), Dorset CPRE Trustees and Dorset Gardens Trust Trustees. As aprt of the tour they named the wildflowers and shared facts. Everyone was amazed by how much the children knew.

On return from their Summer Holidays, the children shared many, many stories about where they had been and what new wildflowers they had seen and added to their Nature Journals, they are now in Year 2 and can still name all the wildflowers.

A Nature Information Board for the Damers’ Meadow was now wanted by the children, to help inform and educate the community and visitors about the wildflowers, insects and birds they might see around them.

The children, with help from Edd Moore, raised the money with donations from organisations and businesses. These included Dorset CPRE, Mansel Pleydell Trust, Poundbury Community Trust, Poundbury Rotary, Dorset Gardens Trust, Dorchester Town Council and Jane Goodall Roots and Shoots Programme.

Nick Morris from Wallis Agency on Poundbury worked with the children to put the nature board together. They included their art work of wildflowers that people might find in the meadow. There is a QR code that will take people to identification sheets and apps to help them learn even more about what they could discover around them. Damers Meadow Nature Information Board unveiled to help inform and educate.

Thank you to Swift Signs in Weymouth, who did a fantastic job in designing and building the solid oak stand and board. Also huge thank you to Morrish Homes for installing the Oak Nature Information Board on the Great Field.

The Nature Information Board was unveiled by Dorchester Mayor, Robin Potter, on Friday 28th June 2024. Present were representatives of the organisation’s who had sponsored the board and Dorset Councillors, Dorchester Town Councillors, the Poundbury Estate Manager and Damers Staff, Parents and children.

Miles King from People Need Nature said: “The Damers Wildflower Meadow board is a fitting tribute to the work of Edd Moore who has promoted tirelessly the importance of nature in education. I look forward to helping future generations of Damers’ students to look after their meadow and continue to collect wildflower seeds from the surrounding countryside and add even more flowers to the meadow.” 

Dorchester Town Mayor, Robin Potter, unveiling the Nature Board. Damers Meadow Nature Information Board unveiled to help inform and educate.Miles added: As well as being there for Poundbury residents and visitors to enjoy, the meadow is also a vital resource for the school to use when teaching a range of different topics. It is an outdoor classroom vibrant with flowers, birds, bees and butterflies.”

Edd Moore, teacher and Eco Coordinator at Damers First School, said: “It is fantastic to see so many children as young as 5 and 6 years old getting out into nature, discovering what is around them, remembering the names of wildflowers, trees, insects and birds. They have used this knowledge to teach their families, friends and the community, inspiring them to see what else they can find in meadows and Nature Reserves across Dorset.

Dorchester Town Mayor Robin Potter said: “Damers’ Meadow is a wonderful part of the Great Field, created by the children to make an important statement about the need for biodiversity and wildlife habitats. The information board is a fantastic addition, brilliantly designed with beautiful drawings by the children. It is educational and truly inspiring.

Many thanks to all those involved in the design, making and placing of this exciting board. Make sure you come to look, learn and enjoy!

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