Year Five students and members of the eco council at Horrabridge Primary School visited the Discovery Centre at Burrator Reservoir last week to create bird boxes as part of a new design technology project.

The school visit took place over two days, with year five students attending on the first day and pupils who comprise the eco council the next; the trip this served as the council’s latest initiative in helping to make the school a more habitable place for wildlife.

The children were guided by volunteers Dave Curno and Mike Glinn at the Discovery Centre, who had arranged the sessions with the school in advance. The students learned many different design skills, helping to craft the bird boxes out of wind-blown pine from Burrator

Teaching assistant Lewis Burke said: ‘The children learned many different design skills with a range of tools. They were led by deputy headteacher Hannah Downing, who also heads the school eco council. They meet once a fortnight and then children also discuss ideas in their separate classes.

‘The trip had been planned for a while and questions were sent out before they went, discussing the different types of design the bird boxes could take, what kind of bird species the boxes would cater for and making different sized boxes to accomdate for all kinds of birds.’

Following the installation of bug hotels all around the school, the creation of birdboxes has been the latest project to be undertaken by the school’s eco council, which is made up of made up of two children from each class who meet with deputy headteacher and SENDCo Hannah Downing to discuss different initatives which can be explored and enacted to make the school more eco friendly and habitable for wildlife.

The students involved with the eco council pool ideas to create a range of environment-friendly drives to help make the school a greener environment. In addition to bug hotels and now bird boxes, they have also run campaigns on litter picking and conserving resources such as water and electricity by making sure taps and lights are turned off when not in use.

Tim Burton, a Dartmoor ranger based at Burrator Reservoir said: ‘We’ve always had school groups here to do woodworking and learn a variety of outdoor skills and I’m sure we will continue to long into the future. The children here were watched over and guided well by our volunteers when using hand tools in the workshop and they had a really good time.

‘Mike and Dave are very well trained in using all our equipment and are some of our longest serving volunteers — we have a great group of them here on Mondays and Tuesdays. They were able to pass on a lot of information about our woodland and the materials they were using too.’