The River Otter has always provided a rich resource for outdoor learning. Since Clinton Devon Estates appointed a Countryside Learning Officer in 2014, local schools have had more help than ever in delivering field trips and educational visits to the river.
The Lower Otter Restoration Project presents a fantastic opportunity for local schools to engage and contribute to discussions related to the future of this much-loved site. Themes that have been and continue to be explored include: habitat health; wildlife; historical land use; recreational patterns; hydrology and water quality; ecosystem functioning; flooding; climate change.
In 2015 some 60 primary pupils visited the Lower Otter to learn specifically about the management issues facing the area related to climate change, and to learn more about the restoration project and what it is trying to achieve. In addition, a further 100 primary school pupils spent time close to the project site learning about how land management can impact on water catchments.
Project supporting schools’ STEM initiative
In 2016 geography and science teachers from Honiton Community College, Clyst Vale Community College, The Axe Valley Community College, The King’s School and Sidmouth College will be bringing students for field trips to the estuary supported by a Department for Education Character Education Grant.
Fiona Hogan, Project Development Officer for the Character Education Programme explains: “As part of the STEM strand of the Character Education Project, we hope that our schools will be able to develop resources required to provide students with meaningful field trips and case-study activities.”
The innovative programme will focus on four key character traits of resilience, leadership, community and curiosity through a range of approaches including mentoring, volunteering, sport and outdoor education, enrichment and enterprise activities.
The programme will train staff in effective approaches to building character and developing resilience. There will also be a strong focus on raising aspiration, particularly in STEM careers. The project aims to ensure that all learners can access these opportunities, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds and those who need more help developing their own emotional well-being and confidence.
Find out more about educational visits
Before you leave the classroom we can provide resources such as maps, photographs and PowerPoint presentations to bring the project to life. Visits take from one and a half hour to a whole morning or afternoon depending on the content and can be self-led or accompanied by one of our team.
Coach drop-off is at Lime Kiln car park, Budleigh Salterton (with toilets approximately 0.5 km walk on seafront) and at White Bridge there is limited parking, suitable for minibuses only.
If you are interested in knowing more about the biology of estuary systems and what the Lower Otter Restoration Project can offer your students contact Kate Ponting, Countryside Learning Officer firstname.lastname@example.org