CHILDREN at an Otley school have been going ‘wild’ for nature.

Dozens of pupils at Ashfield Primary took part in a Wildlife Makeover day last week. The event was organised and led by local teacher and wildlife-enthusiast Neil Griffin of Wildlife Friendly Otley, working closely with Katy Butterill at the school.

The day saw children in Years 1, 2, 3 and 5 taking part in everything from mapping habitats to a wildlife safari. The pupils also constructed bird feeders, bug houses and a ‘mini beast hotel’, planted flowers, cleared nettles and started a compost bin.

And there was still time for a litter trawl, a woodland treasure hunt and wildlife-related games.

Mr Griffin was assisted by a group of Year 10 students from Prince Henry’s Grammar School who were helping as part of their Timanyane (Global Citizenship) Day.

He said: “In spite of the wet weather the children were really enthusiastic, finding all kinds of wildlife in their school grounds and working hard to help them. I’d like to thank the school for backing the venture so wholeheartedly. Activities to engage children of any age with the nature on their doorstep are rewarding both for them and the wildlife itself. They showed a strong awareness of how important it is to care for our environment.”

He also thanked local businesses who had donated items including the Original Factory Shop, which provided birdseed; Simon and Becky from Otley Market, who gave a crate of fruit; and Otley Woodcraft Folk for lending a special wildlife camera for the day.

Ashfield Primary’s Headteacher Elspeth Warren said: “The children thoroughly enjoyed it. We are very grateful to Neil Griffin, Wildlife Friendly Otley and the businesses for their donations and time. As well as having had fun, the day will benefit all our children as they use our amazing grounds in many of their lessons.”

Ms Butterill, a Higher Level Teaching Assistant, added: “We have talked to the children about respecting the things we created and Year 2 have been fascinated by the habitats since.

“I will certainly be repeating activities and doing some of the ones we didn’t get around to, such as a wormery and bee flowers. Year 2 are writing a leaflet for English about Ashfield’s grounds, so we can integrate such activities into the curriculum.”