Creative kids, creepy crawlies and community woodland – that was the theme of an art day run by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust last week for children from South Marston Primary School, near Swindon.
Trust staff and members of its Future Jobs Fund team helped the children to discover what wildlife lives in nearby woodland and then used this knowledge to inspire pieces of art that the local community can enjoy in the future.
The event was part of a scheme that will see 1.55 hectares of woodland currently owned by the Hills Group turned into a community space that will be managed for wildlife.
The woodland is adjacent to a small development of five homes which Hills Homes is building in the village, and the company is keen for the local community to be involved in the site.
“In December we will have finished building the houses, and the wood will be provided with a gravel path and car park for public access. At the same time it will be transferred to the Trust, which will work to encourage wildlife, and local people will be able to enjoy it as their natural green space,” says Hills Homes group director, Nick King.
The children made willow sculptures, woodland monsters out of clay and natural materials and created pictures that will later be turned into mosaics. These mosaics will decorate two benches to be situated along the path. The pictures will also be used to create a series of brass rubbings situated in the wood.
“All the children were taken on sensory trails and minibeast hunts through the woodland. Once back at school we took pre-soaked pliable willow twigs and showed the children how to bend and tie them into shapes based on woodland creatures they will have seen. The sculptures will be used to decorate their school,” says the Trust’s Education Officer Sarah Wood.
Nick Davies (22) from Calne, who is employed as an environmental artist by the Trust through the Government’s Future Jobs Fund scheme (which aims to give young people employment through the recession) lead one of the workshops.
“This was a great new experience for me. I got them to decorate a landscape painting with wildlife they have collaged, sketched and painted themselves whilst teaching them the basics of drawings animals and plants. This will hopefully encourage them to start drawing as a hobby and to take more notice of local wildlife.”