King­fish­er Award Scheme in Cornwall

Primary school children from mid-Cornwall enjoyed a hands on visit to Ennis Barton Farm, Fraddon, to improve their understanding and knowledge of farming and the countryside.

The Kingfisher award scheme is supported by FWAG South West and relies on host farmers to allow children to explore the natural world on their farm.

The hosts this year were Andrew and Claire Brewer, who are well qualified, having been named the 2017 Farmers of the Year at Cornwall Farm Business Awards.

Andrew, who on a daily basis milks up to 700 dairy cows, said:

“It’s vital that farmers show the next generation of consumers how farming works hand in hand with nature.”

Claire added:

“The excitement of the children learning about nature is infectious. We enjoyed our week welcoming local children to our farm.”

Over 300 primary school children from Foxhole, Indian Queens, St Dennis, St Erme, St Stephen, St Wenn, Summercourt and Trevisker took part over the 4 days. They explored the links between farming and wildlife through activities led by volunteer helpers.

The pupils focused on the food chain of the farm’s pond and stream, identifying invertebrates, feeling fungi and handling toads. They discussed the life cycle of the woodland and looked for evidence of its inhabitants and watched the dairy cattle grazing and studied the importance of a healthy soil for good grass growth.

Bec Lobb year 6 teacher from Trevisker primary school said:

“It was wonderful and the children got a lot out of it. They may have been fairly knowledgeable, being Y6, but it made all the difference to put their learning into context. Suddenly their learning became real! They totally embraced the afternoon and were genuinely fascinated and engaged with everything.

“So a very big thank you to the hard working team, who made it happen. It’s so important for children to experience this.”

Jacky Cherry, the local organiser of the Kingfisher Award Scheme, which has been running for 12 years in Cornwall, expressed her thanks to the farmers, the team of volunteers and supporters who help stage the event.

“I was delighted to see the engagement of children in the activities, especially those who find it hard to learn in the classroom. Nothing deterred them, not even the weather.”

Sponsors included Cornwall Food and Farming Group, Cornish Mutual Assurance, Dartington Cattle Breeding Trust, Port and Starboard Fish and Chips, Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association and the Grocers Charity.