The RSPB and Aberdeenshire Rangers have been working with P6/P7 classes at New Pitsligo and Strichen Primary schools on an exciting peatlands educational programme, supported by five dedicated RSPB volunteers.
Buchan Bog Buddies is a 12 session project to raise awareness of the climate and ecological emergency we are facing and how bog restoration can help. The pupils have learnt about the history of the Buchan Bogs, how they were formed after the last ice age, and the important cultural associations with cutting peat for fuel. They have also explored Sphagnum Moss and discovered how its water retaining properties lead to the formation of raised bogs. The third session looked at the value of the bogs for wildlife like insects, insectivorous plants, wading birds and cranes. In the fourth session we examined how the bogs are being restored through the NatureScot PeatlandACTION programme and how community action groups can play a role in the restoration and protection of their local bogs.
Pupils were also taken on a guided walk across a local bog so they can relate all they have leant to the real world around them. As part of the learning process the pupils have made their own 'Bog in a Bottle', explored a 10,000 year bog and human history timeline, researched biodiversity on the bog, spoken with family members about their memories of the bogs, handled some traditional peat cutting tools and discovered the wonderful way in which cranes dance.
Now the children have learned the basics of bog biology and restoration, they will now become community leaders, co-creating an exhibition for their community sharing all that they have discovered and been excited about, creating a new buzz about how important and special the bogs of Buchan are. Both classes will come together to share their exhibits. As we are now just at the beginning of the co-creation stage it’s impossible to say what we will see, but options include, posters, video, animations, models, games… the possibilities are many! We are looking forward to seeing what the pupil’s imaginations and creativity will lead to.
The exhibition will be taking place on 11th May between 12-6 at the Ritchie Hall, Strichen.