Wildlife is getting the royal treatment at a school’s ‘Bugingham Palace’.

Children at St Joseph’s Primary in Otley spent an enjoyable day spotting and helping wildlife in their school grounds. Helped by Neil Griffin from Wildlife Friendly Otley, they watched birds, marvelled at plants and carefully held minibeasts.

The event was one of the Wildlife Makeover days for Otley primary schools organised by community group Wildlife Friendly Otley.

Year One had decided that they wanted to create a “nature garden”, and with great enthusiasm they set about making a minibeast hotel - “Bugingham Palace” - out of recycled materials. They also made bug houses out of plant pots and bamboo, and set up homes for frogs and hedgehogs.

One group planted wildflower plugs with PTA member Kate Egan, whilst another made feeders for butterflies and birds. Finally, the children started to create a mini-pond - one of the best ways to attract wildlife.The morning also featured a visit by Maggie Brown of the West Yorkshire Bat Group, who delighted the children by bringing three bats from her hospital.

The day was resourced by the community, with for example, the fruit for the feeders coming from Simon & Becky’s market stall, the magnifying glasses funded by Wharfedale Naturalists, and the pallets from SAS Autoparts.The afternoon featured educational games about wildlife with the children from Reception, Year One and Year Two.

Neil Griffin said “I was impressed by both the children’s enthusiasm for the project and their knowledge of the natural world. They also showed great empathy when handling the minibeasts.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that the natural world is in crisis, and we need all the generations to engage with it and then go on to take positive measures to protect and encourage it. We’re really pleased that Year One have decided to raise money for Wildlife Friendly Otley”.

Year One teacher Karen Hulbert added “The children loved their wildlife makeover day. They are really inspired to look after the wildlife in their local community.”

Wildlife Friendly Otley’s next makeover day will be with children at Westgate Primary on July 9.Visit wildlifefriendlyotley.org.uk or email wildlifefriendlyotley@gmail.com for more information about projects for Otley schools.

Earlier this year children at three Otley primary schools were helped to get the ‘wildlife bug’ thanks to help and donations of equipment in a scheme run by Wildlife Friendly Otley.

The group's education officer, Neil Griffin, said: “We hope that these things help children in their studies and also get the ‘wildlife bug’ to help them feel a connection with the natural world around them. It’s a great age to experience the awe and wonder that wildlife inspires, and here in Otley we’re so lucky in that regard with plenty of wildlife around if you know where and what to look for.”