Taking part in this years Big Schools' Birdwatch has involved the whole school community and given the children of Bedales prep School, Dunhurst fantastic opportunities to bring their learning to life.


More than 200 birdfeeders have been made in one week by school children as part of the RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch.

Every pupil at Bedales Prep School, Dunhurst embraced the challenge of getting closer to nature and taking part in the world’s biggest school wildlife survey in February.

Pupils at Dunhurst already have an active relationship with nature and the school boasts an Outdoor Work department where pupils are encouraged to get involved with a range of activities from creating a compost heap to livestock management.

Head of Outdoor Work, Ryan Walsh said: “Dunhurst pupils have really taken the RSPB’s mission to heart and it has raised the profile of birdwatching around the school – we’re lucky in Hampshire to be surrounded by a wealth of nature and the children have been asking lots of questions and wanted me to send them the recipes and instructions for the birdfeeders so they could replicate them elsewhere.”

Ryan introduced the RSPB’s Big Schools Birdwatch in an assembly on 1 February and after a bird identification quiz announced his challenge: for every person in the school to make a birdfeeder to put up in their own garden.

Ryan continued: “The idea was that by taking the birdfeeders home, we would be helping to give nature a home in a wider area. All of our lessons in Outdoor Work were given over to making the feeders and we used three simple designs: a stringed apple pierced with sunflower seeds, a fat and seed mix in a cup and a suet block feeder.”

Staff from across the Bedales community, which comprises Bedales Pre prep, Dunannie, Bedales Prep, Dunhurst and Bedales itself, also got involved in making the birdfeeders in their free time. Established in 1893, Bedales was founded to be different and the idea of its founder, John Badley, was to educate the whole person – ‘head, hand and heart’. Ryan said “Understanding our relationship with the nature around us and nurturing wildlife is key to this”.

Many thanks to the staff at Bedales Prep School for this guest blog.


 Photograph  by David Tipling - rspb-images.com