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John O’Conner helps Aylesbury school to transform wilderness into wildlife classroom

John O’Conner helps Aylesbury school to transform wilderness into wildlife classroom

Marcus and Kathryn with John O’Conner’s apprentice Jack Peters and two six-year-old pupils Ben Wells and Heidi Mason.

Bearbrook Combined School in Fowler Road, Aylesbury is turning a piece of woodland from a wilderness, into a wildlife haven and outdoor classroom; with a little help from some friends.   John O’Conner (GM) Ltd have volunteered to adopt the project with some help from our service delivery partner, waste management company, SITA UK

The idea to turn what was once an outdoor classroom back into its former glory was the joint dream of Headmaster Marcus Faulkner and teacher Kathryn Varnals.

The school, which is rich in wooded and natural green areas has in recent years focused on upgrading school buildings, whilst the outdoor classroom became overgrown with brambles, weeds and ivy.  It has become such a wilderness that not even the bravest pupil wants to venture there.

The overgrown wilderness

Marcus asked the John O’Conner team, known for its local voluntary community work, if it could advise on how to tackle the problem.  Within days he not only received free advice but the offer of a voluntary team from John O’Conner to tackle the project.

SITA UK the waste disposal contractors who work with John O’Conner on the Aylesbury Vale District Council contract has volunteered too and will advise on recycling waste from the ‘garden classroom’.  It has also contributed to funding the project.   The two businesses will provide educational packs and talks to the children.

When the land is cleared, the John O’Conner team will build a seating area for classes, raised beds for growing vegetables and a butterfly garden.   Working with the pupils the volunteers will make bird boxes into which mini video camcorders can be inserted to enable the pupils to watch how birds live and see the birth of new chicks live.

Marcus Faulkner said: “This is a brilliant example of Aylesbury businesses pulling together to help us.  We only asked for advice and within days we had the promise of the job being completed and the installation of video cameras. These will bring a new dimension to our children’s lessons and the way they learn.  Watching eggs hatching on TV is one thing, seeing it live from your own garden is fantastic and makes learning so much more fun.”

John O’Conner employee helps pupils make a den

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