Ketley Nature Trail, Telford

TEP ecologists accompanied a group of 22 Ketley school children as they were taken on an interactive adventure through a Telford trail to see their creations out in nature.

In collaboration with Sanctuary Group, Seddon and a group of children from Meadows Primary School (nicknamed the Eco-Warriors), TEP have helped design and install information lecterns and way markers created by the children in the ecology area that surrounds the Telford Millennium Village.

Announced as a Millennium Community in 2002, the Telford Millennium Village was assigned the theme of ‘lifelong learning’. With the theme of the village in mind, TEP’s ecologists consulted with the HCA and Sanctuary and concluded an interactive walk involving school children would be beneficial to both local residents who would use the land and to the long standing theme of the community.

Signage was identified as a particular weakness of this community in the past, with a lack of signing leading to some residents feeling uneasy entering the area in case they were to get lost. With new signs now in place it is hoped more people will visit the site and be confident they can walk on safe and clear trails.

By including children in the design and implementation process, it is hoped that they will feel a greater sense of attachment to the Millennium community and strive as they grow older to keep it in good condition. One of the signs is designed in the style of a question and answer panel, with the questions posed by the children answered by TEP ecologists.

Prior to the walk, TEP gave a presentation to the pupils about the various ecological features on site, including protected species and habitats, and asked the children for their feedback on what they wanted to see on the signs. The ecologists also asked the youngsters what they were interested in and ideas for colour, shapes and materials for the signs.

This preceded the trail walk itself. The children were tasked with searching for any wildlife they could find in the area, with an eye spy sheet given to each child. They were asked to tick off each ecological feature such as a bird house or newt bank they came across on the trail. The feedback from the children was very positive and they expressed a desire to return in future with their parents to view the signs they had helped to design, emphasising the success this venture had been and illustrating how the lifelong learning theme was being implemented.