Earlier this year the Bewbush Academy set up a fundraiser to take year five students - some for the first time - to the beach to learn about the environment and sustainability.
With the generosity of public donations and with help from the Foundation and Infinity Foods Brighton that beach trip took place last week with the sun beaming down on 92 school kids.
On arrival, the pupils were met by local geographer Doctor Catherine Kelly who gave a talk on shells and the types of rocks on the beach and sent them all on the cobbles to find them - with young Malachi finding both a full-size (below) and baby crab shell.
Teacher Mrs Ford talked about the purpose of the trip:
‘We’ve bought all three classes to Rottingdean beach today as part of two topics which we’ve combined: one of which is sustainability and the other is how rivers meet the sea.
We’ve met up with Dr Catherine Kelly, who is a local expert down here, and she is introducing the children to beach combing; we’re going to be litter picking and we’ll be looking at natural habitats here. We found out at the beginning of the year that a lot of our year fives had never been to the beach before. We thought we had to give them that experience. Every child should have that experience.’
That fundraiser took over one thousand pounds in donations online and at Crawley Town FC on match days attended by the school. Mrs Ford says it was worth the efforts:
‘It has been so lovely to see their faces - “Mrs Ford we have this! Mrs Ford we’ve we got that!” - we’ve had them finding crab shells and so many different things and it’s been a real delight see them taking part in this.’
After some beach combing, we spoke to students Rida and Harry about the day:
‘We’ve come on this beach trip because we’re learning about sustainability, plastic, and about recycling it and how it’s bad for the environment.’
Crawley Town Foundation Elite Development player Harry explained:
‘We’re learning about rivers and where the river goes and how to stop rubbish from going into the ocean by not littering and to put the rubbish in the bin so the animals don’t get infected and stay healthy.’
Rida told us what they had learned over the week:
‘We went to the Ifield Mill Pond and we were looking for invertebrates. We did a biotic index to find out the quality of the river and…it wasn’t poor, or excellent, it was good. I was surprised because we found one of the most sensitive creatures…a sludge warm!’
The student’s however, learned a whole lot more as they helped free a trapped pike as Mrs Ford explained:
‘Last week we went to Ifield Mill Pond to find out if we could investigate the quality of the water there by looking at all the invertebrates there. All the children got into the shallow part of the river, collected all the invertebrates, and on the way back we noticed a pike there that had got caught in the brambles. So we tried our best to get it out - it was a very big pike, very heavy - and two workmen came out from mowing lawns and they were trying their best as well; then a member of the public! Together we managed to get it out and a lady ran off with the pike and returned it back into the Mill Pond so we’re hoping it did survive!’
A fitting rescue from eager students, conscientious teachers and a local public working together to save a fish. This week there will be a Bewbush Academy workshop to further teach the pupils about the environment, sustainability and recycling.