Caerlaverock School Pupils Win Wildlife Project

Caerlaverock SchoolCaerlaverock Primary School has won a Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) award for an innovative wildlife project.
The school is one of six schools across Scotland, from Dumfries and Galloway to Inverclyde, Fife, Perthshire and Aberdeenshire, to have won an award. SNH announced the winners of their first-ever school camera trapping project earlier this month at their Battleby office, near Perth.
Caerlaverock was among 20 schools throughout Scotland involved in a SNH wildlife camera-trapping project to enthuse and teach pupils about the wildlife in their area. Schools gathered footage over a number of months, capturing film of foxes, red squirrels, deer, badgers, otters, birds and more. Schools then submitted a compilation of their favourite videos and pictures.
Scotland’s Environment Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, met some of the pupils involved in this innovative wildlife project today at the Royal Highland Show. She said, “It was wonderful to meet some of the children involved in this project and watch the creative, fun films they’ve made. From both the videos and from speaking to the children that I’ve met today, it’s clear that this project has really got them excited about the wildlife right on their doorsteps. It’s so important to encourage this next generation to value and protect Scotland’s nature. This will hopefully also inspire them to get outdoors more and more, creating a lifetime of healthy habits.”
Primary 4, 5, 6 and 7 children from Caerlaverock Primary School used their camera trap to capture pictures and video footage of a wide range of wildlife, and then edited the footage themselves to make a short film.
Supported by local SNH staff, photographer Colin Tennant and drone operator Tony Graham, the film, with its spy theme, featured locations around Glencaple, Bankend and other areas of the Caerlaverock Estate, including the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve (NNR) on the shores of the Solway. The project linked closely to a number of areas of the curriculum including science and digital literacy, providing an unusual context for the delivery of a wide range of activities. It was a major project that was months in the making, but deemed by the pupils as ‘a brilliant experience’.
To celebrate the school achievement there was a screening of the children’s film on the 19 June, 6pm at the Burns Centre.
One of the Caerlaverock P4a pupils involved, Kael Armstrong, said, “I never knew that foxes and badgers can live in the same den. The videos made my adrenaline flow.”
His classmate, Jess Currie, added, “I loved seeing how the animals act while we are not watching them.”
Mike Cantlay, SNH’s Chair, added, “This project was a wonderful way to encourage children outdoors, learning about nature, in both towns and cities. Many schools embraced this project, involving the whole school and using it to contribute to their outdoor learning, as well as other areas of their education. I was so impressed by all the work that went into making the amazing videos, showing their exciting discoveries about wildlife in and around their school grounds. The children can also be proud that their project has helped build a picture of the wildlife in their local areas.”
For Caerlaverock Primary School’s winning submission, see https://youtu.be/z8H0DOZqgl0.
The project will continue in 2017-18 and beyond, with more schools joining in throughout Scotland.
The primary school winners were:
• Innovation category – Caerlaverock and Braemar
• Pupil Involvement category – King’s Oak (Greenock) and Aberlady
• Learning and Progression category – Grandtully and St Andrews RC (Dundee)
The project was inspired by the highly successful North East Schools Camera Trap project, which was created by the North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership (NES BP). They came up with the simple but effective idea of involving local primary schools to show how easy and fun it can be to use camera traps and capture footage of a whole range of species right on their doorstep.
The project is part of the ongoing work for Scotland’s Biodiversity A Route Map to 2020, which is focussed on conserving some of Scotland’s most important wildlife.


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