Mill Water School become first school to win 'bat buddy' gold award
PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 October 2018
A special needs school near East Budleigh has become the first in the county to win an award for its work with rare bats.
Mill Water School, based on the grounds of Bicton College, has achieved its Bat Buddy Gold Award with the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project (DGHBP).
The award marks the end of a two-year crusade by the school to spread the word on bats and educate pupils on the animals.
Headteacher Sarah Pickering said: “We are incredibly proud to be receiving this award, as the bat is not a species people think of as needing our help.
“Our outdoor skills lead Tom Neusinger has made this possible and the enthusiasm of the children was impressive. Thank you to everyone involved.”
Helen Parr, of DGHBP, which provided a grant to the school to provide tools for its outdoor skills and learning department, presented the gold award to the school at a special assembly.
She said: “Mill Water School are the first school in Devon to be awarded their Bat Buddy Gold award.
“This is an amazing achievement. This brilliant project was possible due to the children’s fascination with bats and other wildlife.
“Their enthusiasm to improve their surroundings will have a positive and lasting impact on wildlife living near the school.”
Mill Water has been working with DGHBP for two years and got its silver award last summer on the back of a bat week event.
An intensive sensory and education week all about bats was held and pupils were also taken to see the caves at Beer where bats have their winter maternity roost.
Mill Water has also built and put up bat boxes around the school and continued to monitor the presence of bats at the school by taking part in a county-wide survey.
Tom Neusinger, Mill Water’s outdoor skills lead, said: “The children have learnt many skills and widened their knowledge of the local environment.
“They have also made connections between this small but vital species and other globally endangered icons like the tiger and giant panda.
“They understand that their actions, however small, can impact not only single species but the diversity of the whole planet.”