Schools invited to showcase their nature gardens

 

Cheltenham in Bloom and the borough council are looking for entries into their school nature garden competition. The aim of the competition is to encourage schools to raise their pupils’ awareness of the natural environment.

 

The competition has proved very popular with schools in previous years with the winning school enjoying a cash prize plus a trophy and two runners up receiving certificates and cash prizes to spend on their gardens, all sponsored by Cheltenham in Bloom.

 

Application forms are available online at www.cheltenham.gov.uk/cheltenham-in-bloom or hard copies can be collected from the Municipal Offices. Applications must be received by Friday 2 June so that judging can take place on Monday 12 June (possibly into Tuesday).

 

Judging will be organised by committee members from Cheltenham in Bloom, Dave Richards – representing Cheltenham Horticultural Society – Mary Nelson and the council’s senior community ranger, Wayne Sedgwick.

 

Particular emphasis will be placed on:

 

  • Whether the garden is used as an outdoor classroom by all age groups within the school
  • If a forest area has been considered
  • Whether the area is used as an after-school club
  • Involvement of pupils in the construction and maintenance of the garden
  • The best use of the space the school has available
  • The long-term strategy in place to ensure continuity and maturity of the garden
  • General environmental awareness within the school as a whole, e.g. recycling, composting, grow your own, environmental projects/clubs, eco-school status and children’s awareness of issues.

 

Wayne Sedgwick, the council’s senior community ranger will be judging the competition, he says: ‘’I always look forward to judging this annual competition, as the school children are so enthusiastic about what they’ve learned in their ‘outdoor classroom.’ We always hope that the children can take the lead, by showing us how they use their outdoor space to best effect and how aware they are of environmental issues. We are particularly interested in any work that the school may be doing to promote biodiversity.’’

 

Chris Ryder, chair of Cheltenham in Bloom added: ‘’We always look forward visiting the schools’ nature gardens and seeing how they’ve been designed. Some schools may have huge open spaces and others may have tiny pieces of land to build a garden on; the important thing is how they utilise these areas and involve the children so that they extend their learning to the great outdoors.’’