Durham Wildlife Trust offers an exciting innovative programme of environmental activities to schools throughout County Durham, the City of Sunderland, and the Borough of Darlington, Gateshead and South Tyneside. The activities are National Curriculum compatible in order to deliver QCA targets. They include hands on experience and fieldwork with games and worksheets to complement what is learnt.

During 2005 we offered ‘Habitats’ and ‘Life Cycle of a Plant’. The main focus of ‘Habitats’ is to compare different habitats and includes pond dipping, minibeast hunts and a woodland walks. There are various aspects that we can link into this activity such as Variation and Classification, Food Chains and Adaptation. The ‘Life Cycle of a Plant’ teaches children about different parts of a plant, the basic needs of plants, life cycles and their importance in food chains.

Activities take place at:

  • Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve near Houghton-le-Spring
  • Low Barns Nature Reserve, Witton-le-Wear
  • Bowlees Visitor Centre in the upland habitat of Teesdale
  • Hylton Dene Local Nature Reserve in Sunderland.

To cover some of our costs we levy a charge. Currently, the rates are £2 per child for a half-day visit or £3 for a full day during April to September. £1.50 per half day and £2 per full day October to March.

Our Environmental Education Programme has been extremely popular with Key Stage 1 and 2 children over recent years. However to reach even further and get more schools involved we are currently updating our Programme to include a wider range of links to the Curriculum, such as Numeracy, Literacy and Citizenship.

Look for updates to the website about our 2006 programme and if you have any queries or wish to make a school booking please contact the School Liaison Officer.

Out of hours school clubs
We offer an Out of Hours School Club Service to schools charged at a rate of £30 per session. We can cover all elements of running a wildlife gardening club as well as additional activities such as recycling and environmental activities.

Visits to schools
We can go into primary schools to talk to the children on various topics such as care of the environment, the work of the Trust and other environmental issues such as litter. We can talk to secondary schools about reclamation using Rainton Meadows as a demonstration site. We can also deliver aspects of the National Curriculum in the school grounds.

We are also involved with running earth education activities and run an annual event called Sunship Earth at Ridley Hall during the summer holidays.