We’re excited to announce that Tangmere Airfield Nurseries has teamed up with The Royal Horticultural Society in a pilot scheme to help students engage in learning within the context of the horticulture industry.

As members of the West Sussex Growers’ Association, Tangmere met with the RHS and local secondary school teachers to share available resources that could be utilised for learning and teaching the education curriculum.

“We were asked for our help in setting up a project that is based upon challenges that are real to our business for the school students to tackle” explains Mark Knight, Technical Crops Manager. “The challenge we set the students invited them to investigate ways to enhance biodiversity on-site. As the nursery is located on an old WW2 airfield its difficult starting conditions but adjacent to the greenhouses we have more than an acre of grassland providing a viable place for biodiversity to improve and thrive.”

Taking part in the biodiversity challenge was a group of Year 8 'Key Stage 3' students from The Angmering School, West Sussex.

The children have a keen interest in gardening and attend a Rural Science Club in lunchtimes and after school. Science teacher, Nikki Manley introduced the group to a variety of sampling methods using transects and quadrats to collect quantitative data as well as pooters to catch and identify small insects. The students used field study guides and insect identification books to record the existing species and the RHS were also on hand to provide expert advice.

Back in the classroom, the pupils made a video of the results they collected and talked about different strategies to encourage pollinators and beneficial invertebrates through planting wild flowers and building habitats. The children did some research and decided they would like to make flower seed bombs which is documented in this short film shot by Carl Pendle Photography & Video. A real highlight for everyone involved!

“The project provided a fantastic opportunity to work collaboratively with schools and the RHS to help raise awareness of how food is grown and engage with the local environment. The biodiversity challenge is an excellent initiative to understand our natural ecosystems beyond the greenhouse environment. We hope the students can revisit the site to make further enhancements and assess longer term impacts.”

Find out more about seed bombs and available resources at the RHS Campaign for School Gardening here

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