New Woodland Wildlife Way!
Pupils and teachers in Wales were glad to be back in school this past term. Ysgol Bryn Collen’s Year 4 class were particularly keen to learn about woodland biodiversity and apply to our Pen y Coed Wildlife Waymarker Competition.
Pen y Coed lies on its own prominent hill to the east of the picturesque Welsh town of Llangollen in Denbighshire. The 28-hectare (69.2-acre) woodland is a distinctive landscape feature, clearly visible from the village and is visited by the community and tourists alike. Over the past 3 years, we have engaged the local community at events which demonstrate the positive impacts of our Ancient Woodland Restoration work.
We offered the Year 4 class the Coed Cadw (Woodland Trust in Wales) bilingual wildlife spotter sheets to explore Pen y Coed to see what they could find, make some observational drawings on the entry form provided and send in their entries.
North East Wales Site Manager, Becky Good, was our judge for the competition. All entries were so varied and unique, she chose them all as winners and to be included on our new Pen y Coed spotter sheet (see image of sheet attached) and Wildlife Waymarker route (see image of waymarker attached).
Prizes included leaf, insect and bird swatch books (five each) to share with other classes in the school as well as our ‘Into the Forest’ book for the class teacher to use when she taught this topic again. These were handed out at the end of an outdoor session with the class on biodiverse food chains within the layered structure of a woodland.
Each child in the class went home with their new spotter sheet attached to a bilingual letter to parents with links to our shop and family membership web pages as well as our Tree Tools for Schools site for further spotter sheets to use during the summer holidays. Each child in the school also went home with the Pen y Coed spotter sheet at the end of the term.
AND it didn’t end there! As we have established a good working relationship with the Llangollen Tourist Information Centre, we extended our reach with the rest of the spotter sheets being promoted to tourists visiting the area this summer. We also spread the word through social media and the county wide newspaper, the Denbighshire Free Press.
This year’s Summer Reading Challenge is Wild Heroes and with a section on woodlands, the Llangollen Library staff are keen to support children to use the spotter sheets to explore Pen y Coed and come back to the library where they would make suggestions on Fiction and Non-fiction books related to woodlands and biodiversity to add to their summer reading list.
This collaborative approach to engaging young people and families with our woodland has inspired us to extend this idea to reach schools within our Dyfi to Dwyryd Treescape in the future.
In the meantime, if you’re on a staycation in north Wales, do pop by the Llangollen Tourist Information Centre and get your very own spotter sheet (or download and print it off here) and head to Pen y Coed to wander along the children’s new Woodland Wildlife Way!
FYI – Welsh words:
- Pen = top
- Y = the
- Coed = woods
- Ysgol = school
- Bryn = hill
- Collen = hazel
Pen y Coed = Top of the Woods
Ysgol Bryn Collen = Hazel Hill School
Written by Kirsten Manley, Engagement and Communication Officer for North Wales.