St Mark’s CE Primary School, Morwenstow

stmarks1by Alison A. Newton

St Mark’s School, founded by the Reverend Stephen Hawker and the most northerly school in Cornwall, is enthusiastic in fostering an interest in science among its pupils. The Science Garden project, opened in 2008, was supported by the Cornwall Gardens Trust and has continued to be used as a basis for a number of different science-based projects during 2009.

The school was very pleased to be awarded a prestigious Partnership Grant from The Royal Society, for their Wild About Science (WASP) Project, which has enabled them to purchase some equipment, such as cameras, for use in their investigations. They have also provided isolation nets to be placed over plants, so that insect activity around particular plants may be monitored.

They are currently investigating local wildlife including bats and moths, as well as wild plants in the area. A local moth expert has helped them to identify moths caught in a moth trap as part of the National Garden Moth Scheme; he has also helped them to investigate the life cycle of the Emperor Moth, and to establish the preferred food-plants of its caterpillars. A bat expert has shown how various species of bat may be identified, and their feeding habits correlated with some of the moth studies. A wild flower garden has been established and an impressive list of wild plants, that have been found locally and identified by the children, has been constructed; this list shows both the common and Latin binomial names of the plants.

The younger classes have been using their observations of plants growing in the Science Garden, to establish for themselves the life cycle of broad beans. The children have also continued to grow their own salad plants in the garden, and the school cook was able to make a delicious vegetable soup from the products of this garden for the whole school to enjoy.

Details of all these projects may be viewed on the school website:

www.st-marks.cornwall.sch.uk and at their WASP website: www.st-marks-wasp.org.uk