The Ecology Consultancy, a leading UK-based ecological consultancy, has launched an initiative of School Ecology Workshops to assist the construction industry in engaging with local communities and aid them in their corporate social responsibility activities.
The programme of ecology-based educational workshops is offered to schools that are undergoing or located near to construction works, and is designed to educate and inspire school pupils about ecology and the natural environment.
The Ecology Consultancy’s team of expert ecologists visit local primary schools to deliver wildlife-themed, classroom-based workshops which educate pupils about how the development is being carried out in a way that protects local wildlife. In conjunction with members of the developer’s project team, they also provide a broader view of the project’s environmental activities.
The workshops are developed to cater for both Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 pupils, with activities suitable for each age group and linked to the school curriculum.
The workshops enable developers to form stronger links with local communities and create an ongoing dialogue with schools, businesses and residents about how the development may impact their local area.
In addition, the programme also helps developers to meet Considerate Constructor Scheme targets for community engagement and environmental protection, and build advocacy for developments as communities learn how measures are taken to protect the environment.
The scheme was successfully piloted earlier this year, with a number of leading house-builders accompanying team members from The Ecology Consultancy. Bovis Homes attended a visit to Browick Road Primary School in Wymondham, while Linden Homes visited Churchill Church of England Primary School in Westerham and Farrans spent time at Avanti House School in Stanmore.
The initiative is now being rolled out as a full service offering from The Ecology Consultancy’s regional offices in London, Norwich, Lewes, Lichfield and Wakefield, and will be available to development clients where construction work is taking place near schools.
Jon Riley, technical director at The Ecology Consultancy, said: “The School Ecology Workshops are a great way for developers to work closely with ecologists on important community engagement and CSR activities. They help developers communicate with schools about the considerations for wildlife involved in construction and leave a lasting positive legacy of involvement with the local community.”
Annette Hurst, regional sales director at Bovis Homes, commented: 'We're delighted to have the opportunity to work with The Ecology Consultancy and the pupils of Browick Road. It’s great to see these young students learning about some of the wonderful wildlife around them.'
Corrina Peachment, deputy head teacher at Browick Road Primary School, Norfolk, added: “The children found the ecology workshops really interesting. It was great for them to see their local area in a different light and they enjoyed learning about how different animals have adapted to their environments.”