I love this time of year in nature - it contains so much promise. This autumn I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the joys of nature with many of Bristol’s school children. We have explored their local nature spots, finding shiny black beetles under logs, spotting dragonflies hunting over seldom visited ponds and following the tell-tale trails of foxes across fields until the track vanishes into the brambles. I have also been supporting some schools to make their grounds better for wildlife, and therefore a more fun, creative and inspiring place for kids to learn and play.
Many teachers and parents ask us for advice on bringing more nature into their school grounds. Some playgrounds in Bristol make me sad – I visited a new build school recently where the main play area was more like a prison yard – but for schools that are blessed with some green space, here are some of my top tips for bringing more wildlife into your schools and your own gardens this autumn.
Firstly, get going with the planting. This reaps rewards in the future, allowing new plants to settle in and giving them precious growing time before the colder weather arrives. You will notice that their leaves will start to shoot as soon as the warmth of spring arrives, giving them a head-start over plants planted in the spring. As a result, you will get bigger plants and more flowers, ready to feed the hungry pollinators when they emerge.