Eynsham Partnership Academy Nature Recovery network
Since 2020, as part of the Nature Recovery Network, we helped instigate a nature recovery network in the 7 primary schools and 1 secondary school that are part of the Partnership Academy in Eynsham (EPA) and surrounding villages. On 13th January 2022, teachers and community members from these 8 schools in Eynsham and the surrounding villages come together for the first EPA Nature Recovery Network (NRN) workshop on Long Mead with funding secured by Long Mead from Natural England, which has enabled the EPA to respond to demands made by students at their recent climate summit.
The EPA and NRN relationship has developed in the last 2 years leading to the EPA forming its own NRN in early Spring 2021. EPA NRN follows our NRN principle, connecting up teachers across the EPA schools with each other, with local experts and with parents and community groups who are coming together to help nature recover in our local schools and villages. Please contact us if you would like to get involved.
The EPA NRN was formed in Spring 2021, with science leaders from each school working together to carry out initial biodiversity surveys on each school site. Science leaders have begun to form links with community groups. This has followed and been supported by the NRN philosophy of building strong, interconnected community networks. Community members have been able to provide initial support to survey and identify opportunities for biodiversity actions in each school site.
School leaders, including headteachers and governors, are now motivated to continue support for this project. The project is also now a significant part of an overall EPA Climate and Biodiversity action plan which is being drafted at present. During this initial phase it has proved evident that a significant amount of training is required to form fully empowered school and community led NRNs.
So, the Natural England grant gives selected teachers in each school, with supporting community members, the opportunity to attend four biodiversity workshops and time to work with local experts to do surveys of each school and to develop ideas for working with students to increase biodiversity on schools sites as well as bringing these activities into the school curriculum.
The funding from Natural England recognises the innovative approach of Eynsham's Nature Recovery Network to helping local schools and villages engage in effective and sustainable restoration of nature in their communities that could connect into the landscape-scale nature recovery that is being undertaken in the area by the Long Mead’s Thames Valley Wildflower Meadow Restoration Project and other landscape-scale projects.