Baylis Court Battle Brambles to Support Local Conservation Efforts at Herschel Park
Baylis Court School in Slough had their “Play Your Part Day” on the Rising Futures Programme on the 14th November. It was a glorious Autumn Day made all the better by the sunshine and the lack of rain that had been forecast in the week running up to the day – phew!
The Yes Futures Coaches – Becky, Tracy and Jane and the Programme Executive, Hannah met the girls (years 8 and 9) at the school. Everyone was dressed in clothes ready to work hard and get stuck in. We discussed the purpose of the day – giving back to the community and using our Yes Futures talents of confidence, communication, resilience and self-awareness. We also went over what the girls’ expectations for the day were. Each girl was asked to set a goal for the day around these talents and we would review these at the end. The girls were very excited and full of energy.
We split into our coaching groups to travel to our place of community work, the beautiful Herschel Park. The girls chatted excitedly and animatedly as we travelled to the Park. There we met the Park Ranger – Ian, who explained to the girls the plan for the day.
The girls listened closely whilst Ian explained how brambles take over in the park and strangle and stifle other plants that are important to the ecosystem. The girls were going to protect the habitat and food for the animals that live there against these brambles. Ian explained the various tools we were going to use: shears, loppers and secateurs to cut back the brambles, and gloves to protect our hands for pulling out the bramble. He spoke to the girls about being safe because we didn’t want any accidents or lost fingers!
We then split into our 3 coaching groups and set to work on the task in hand. Each group chose an area to clear. All the girls worked very hard and enthusiasm grew as the piles of cut back brambles grew and pathways through and between the trees and shrubs were created. Hannah also introduced an element of competition - which group would have the largest pile at the end? This worked well to inspire all the girls when their arms and backs started to ache, and energy levels dwindled.
Halfway through the task, we had a fruit and snack break which recharged the batteries and led us to share how we were doing, what talents we were using and what hard work it was.
As we neared the end of our allocated time, Ian came over to see the progress and was most impressed. We then voted as to who had cleared the most brambles and Becky’s group were clear winners. We all returned to school and lunch together provided by Yes Futures before spending an hour discussing if the girls had achieved their goals. They prepared a 2-3-minute presentation in groups to present back to their cohort. Each group had achieved their goals and reflected well on the use of the Yes Futures tales of confidence, communication, resilience and self-awareness.
It was lovely to hear how proud the students were of their achievements. Many at the start of the day were uncertain of what to expect, especially when hearing about some of the risks of the manual labour. But in reflection, they realised how resilient they had all been in making sure the job was done. Seeing how their efforts had greatly supported the local environment made them very happy. One group even created a song as a thank you which was a lovely touch and showed great confidence. We all agreed, Coaches and girls, what hard work maintaining our community parks is and the importance of volunteering.
A very big thank you to Ian and Herschel Park in Slough for hosting such a fun Play Your Part Day!
Written by Jane Watson.
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