A school trip to Washington Wetland Centre has inspired a new generation of mini ornithologists in Peterlee. Year 2 pupils from Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, were thrilled to stumble across an enormous nest at the centre where they discovered Ava the ‘osprey’, who helped them learn more about animals and the natural world.

Year 2 teacher Susan Jones organised the free visit to Washington Wetland Centre, including fully funded transport, as part of The Generation Wild project at the centre.

In RE, Year 2 have been learning about God’s creation and ways we can care for his precious world and in science, we have been learning about plants and animals,” said Mrs Jones. “The purpose of this visit was to help pupils connect with nature.

During the visit, the children met Ava the ‘osprey’. Ava gave the children a ‘translator phone’ to allow the children to listen to what the creatures were saying.

After their visit, the classmates followed Ava on her journey via an interactive website and carried out nature activities in the school grounds and at home. On completion of 10 activities, the children were awarded their Guardians of the Wild certificate and pin badge.

Fledgling twitcher Daniel Hammond, seven, said: “I love helping the birds. It really is important to me because I just love birds!

Classmate Coleton Dunn, seven, said: “This visit was the best day ever. I want to come here and watch the animals every single day.

Milah Carr, seven, said: “I am super excited to take my family to Washington Wetlands so I can show them the animals.

The visit has inspired seven-year-old Harrison Cowell to care for even the smallest creatures at school. He said: “At playtimes, I have been busy making bug hotels with my friends, to help keep the ants safe from being squashed.

The Wetland trip also sparked an interest in the children to carry out a second litter pick at Crimdon Beach to help protect local wildlife.

Codie Sweeney, seven, added: “I was quite upset when I found three dead birds on Crimdon Beach and wondered if they were hurt from litter.

Year 2 teaching assistant Marguerite Elrick added: “I loved listening to the children talking about how they could protect the birds within their own local community and how they wanted to set up an after-school club that would enable this.

All the children were given a free family visit voucher and many families have already used theirs, sharing the magic and wonder with their families as they carried out a trail of nature-based activities.

Children were each given a certificate signed by Sir David Attenborough for their hard work and dedication to the project.

The school won a prize for providing evidence to Generation Wild showing the impact this project has had on the pupils and families. They were awarded a £500 voucher to spend on nature resources from Muddy Faces.

We feel extremely lucky to have been given this wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and can’t wait to allow other classes in our school to experience this over the next couple of years,” added Mrs Jones. “This project has really helped build relationships with our families, as the parents were keen to support with our nature club and nature activities at home. Many families have already used their free family passes. It has amazed me, seeing how the children have fully embraced this project, and how they’ve displayed passion and enthusiasm for caring for our animals, no matter how small.

For more information, please visit: www.bccet.org.uk/.

Press release issued by SASS media on behalf of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust. For more information, contact Sarah Dale on 07814 976582.