Thames Chase volunteers help school children create an outdoor learning garden.

Thames Chase Conservation Volunteers

Thames Chase volunteers help school children create an outdoor learning garden.

The Thames Chase Conservation Volunteers are supporting a number of projects throughout the Community Forest. At present the teams are working with schools to provide learning opportunities about the natural world close to their classrooms.

A recent project was at Drapers Maylands School in Harold Hill, where over the course of four days our Thames Chase Conservation Volunteers delivered an exciting project creating a fantastic outdoor learning area within the school grounds. This was facilitated through a Community Action Fund grant from a Heritage Lottery Grant under an extensive project entitled ‘The Land of the Fanns’.

The plans were drawn up by Thames Chase with the involvement of the school and, having successfully applied for a grant, work began in early November .

The school children helped the teams of volunteers over the four days to transform the area. A wildlife pond was hand dug with spades, lined and filled with water. A pond dipping platform was designed and constructed and safety fencing was built around the pond and platform.  Hand crafted benches and a table were built and installed by the volunteers.                                                               
The school children and their teachers watched in delight as the area was transformed into a haven for wildlife. Some children had a practise at pond dipping although it will be a little while until the wildlife moves in. However, they were happy just catching fallen leaves in their nets and   learning about some of the animals that will soon live in their pond.

The children also helped with planting up the many aquatic plants in baskets for the pond (kindly donated by Latchford Aquatics, Upminster) and planted some locally grown native trees around the pond area.

Planting trees as part of a Community Forest Project, Trees for Learning, funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and having checked the picnic table made by the volunteers is level, the children are very happy to take care of the area and look forward to using it regularly as part of their learning programme.

Projects such as this are fundamental to the work of the Thames Chase Trust, who manage the Community Forest and are hugely grateful to the fantastic teams of volunteers and their leader, Becky Gibson, who yet again demonstrate their excellent skills, knowledge and team work on another very successful project. 

If you would like help with a project such as this or would like your school to be involved in the ‘Trees for Learning’ Project, please email

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