This month a group of volunteers made up of staff from Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust and parents from Boasley Cross Primary School, in Bratton Clovelly, set about completing an ‘AWE Project’, which was to transform a disused, murky pond to a wonderful facility which the children could use in their environmental and science lessons.

Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust’s AWE (Awe, Wonder and Engagement) Projects rejuvenate school facilities, with the help of willing teams of staff, governors, older students and the wider community. It was initially designed as a continuation of the strong community spirit which had been evidenced during lockdown and has seen numerous local businesses pledge their support.

The school had identified to Melissa Trudgill and Derrick Brett, DMAT’s new community engagement team that, as an AWE Project, their large pond needed some hard work and attention in order for the children to be able to use it again for their wildlife and science lessons. The pond was overgrown, had debris and rubbish in it, but mostly had some very dense reeds which dominated one half of the pond.

Staff came together to utilise their skills including the Trust’s estates team, and were supervised by Lorraine Simmons, the teaching assistant at Boasley Cross who leads on the forest school and outdoor education to also include the sensory garden and now the pond.

Prior wildlife expertise and advice was gratefully received from Lucy Alford, environment and engagement ranger from the South West Lakes Trust, who had quickly dismissed an earlier idea of workers submerging in the pond and wearing waders, in order to ensure wildlife was protected due to the time of year. 

A spokesperson added: “The work might well have been cold, smelly and dirty, but the team were rewarded by many close encounters with beautiful frogs and newts and now the pond can be used and enjoyed by the children again.”