Friday 4 May 2018

Successful Project with a Derbyshire school and housing agency

This is a good story in the year of Swift Awareness Week
by Nick Brown

Last autumn a meeting was arranged by the Derbyshire Swift Conservation Project with Rykneld Homes with additional support from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. Rykneld manages the social housing for NE Derbyshire District Council.

An Ibstock Swift brick
While most of their work is maintaining the 8000 houses they have already, occasionally they build new properties. Jude Milburn, Rykneld’s Community Involvement Officer, attended the meeting and took up the Swift cause. Liaising closely with us, he worked to get internal Swift boxes put in nine of the 50 houses in a new social housing development in North Wingfield, close to the village school (with some bat boxes in addition).

He also arranged for the Project to meet Rachael Peacock, the head teacher at the newly built village school. We explained how Swifts would make a great learning topic for the children – an idea she embraced enthusiastically. In addition, Jude gave her six Swift boxes to put up on the school. On 20th April, Rykneld organised a small ceremony to mark the completion of the new houses.

Swift boxes in 6 country colours
On a lovely sunny afternoon, thirty children from the school joined in by painting their six boxes in the colours of the flags of some of the countries the birds fly over on migration to and from Africa (Spain, Morocco, Ghana etc). This novel idea was first dreamed up by Ian Carstairs in Harleston, Norfolk so we can’t claim it as our own!

The children worked enthusiastically and the boxes will be put up on the school as soon as possible.

There are Swifts nesting in the village and we hope Rachael will be able to get the children to ask their parents if they know where, prior to us doing some survey work in the summer.

In addition, some of the children from the school will be moving into the new houses. Should they move into the ones with Swift boxes, Jude will ensure that they are made aware of their boxes and the reasons they were installed. Ideally we hope Jude will be able to engage with all the new tenants and to that end we will be providing him with copies of the new AfS leaflet and booklet to hand out.

Engaging the next generation

Job done!

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