Last year when a year 3 class was invited to plant some trees in a local wood called Station Woods which is being managed to support a local dormouse population, a seed was sown which developed into a fascination for dormice that spread across the entire school.
They learnt about dormice and hedgerow ecology in a number of ways and even had two farmers visit, with very contrasting farming practices – small scale with hedges vs agri-farming with large fields and no hedges! They continued to debate the solutions to a proposed hypothetical road set to cross the dormouse zone!
After Mrs Rickwood attended a workshop with children’s author Babette Cole, they got their inspiration to write their own dormouse story. They told their own stories on “National No Pens Day” and on other occasions presented their research on dormice in drawings and comic strip.
The children also had the opportunity to do some dormouse monitoring, checking the nesting boxes. They also made nesting tubes out of recycled drinks cartons.
Clive Pig a local story teller ran workshops with all the classes and the children added lines about dormice to his story about the Higglety Pigglety Hedge. They chose the story lines they liked best to help them start on the book they are writing and illustrating.
A visit from Dora the 3 legged dormouse added to their inspiration and love for this adorable creature before she went into hibernation for 17 weeks, waking up in March. The project had a wider impact on parents through their family learning days where they got out and about and wrote poetry and had a stall at the Wildlife Festival in Devon.