Sussex Wildlife Trust spent the day with 70 children from six primary schools in Brighton & Hove (18/7/17) finding out more about the unique wildlife and habitats in the City.
The children were specially selected to represent their school as eco-councillors, bike champions or science leaders and arrived accordingly, by bike or public bus.
The day was part of the council-funded Brighton & Hove environmental educational project (BHee) which helps schoolchildren embed sustainability in their schools and discover more about ‘The Living Coast’ – a world-class environment area including the downs, towns and coast - a UNESCO World Biosphere Region.
The children started their day at Beacon Hub on Beacon Hill Nature Reserve, Rottingdean, discovering the flowers, butterflies, invertebrates and birds that live on chalk grassland, including fragrant orchids, gatekeeper butterflies and meadow grasshoppers. They watched and listened to the skylarks singing and made skylark kites.
On the beach at Ovingdean, they explored the rockpools, discovering a huge array of marine species including a lobster, compass jellyfish and various types of crab. They finished the day with a two minute beach clean after leaders explained the detrimental effects of plastic and rubbish on the marine environment.
One child commented ‘Best school trip ever!! I was amazed by how many creatures lived in the long grass on the Downs and how many different plants and flowers there were. I learnt that six spot burnet moths came from a stripy caterpillar and I never knew you could find lobsters in the rockpools so near to the downs.’
Katie Eberstein, who leads the BHee project for the Sussex Wildlife Trust, said ‘The teachers and the children all love exploring and discovering the wealth of wildlife on the downs and the coast, working as a team and meeting new people.’
Rich Howorth, Biosphere Programme Manager – The Living Coast said, ‘It was an incredibly valuable experience for our local children to connect with the world on their doorstep, to understand first-hand its richness and their relationship to it, so that they can become its active guardians in the future.’