Alexa Farley, an Environmental Educator from Bracknock Wildlife Trust in Brecon, Wales, has won an Earthwatch Environmental Award for Primary Teachers and the opportunity to join leading scientists on a field research project in the UK.
The Earthwatch Environmental Awards for Primary Teachers, launched in December 2002, are open to all primary school teachers and conservation educators in the UK and are part of a national award scheme run by the international environmental charity Earthwatch and supported by a donation from GlaxoSmithKline.
Twenty teachers have won awards this year by successfully demonstrating how this scheme would benefit their teaching and the wider community.
On Earthwatch's Butterflies and Bush Crickets project, Alexa will be given training in field research, plant identification, and the recording of data. She will then help to compare green lanes, narrow roads, hedgerows, grass banks and un-cropped land around coastal farmland, as habitat for the great green bush-cricket. She will also help to track butterflies, and, carry out experiments by making 'green lanes' from plastic windbreak and recording changes in abundance.
The results of the project will provide the information needed to help local organisations conserve green lanes, regenerate field boundaries, and improve habitat for the great green bush-cricket in its stronghold, and butterflies in the wider countryside.
Alexa Says, 'I was delighted to hear that I would be going on this project. I am fascinated by the complex and colourful world of insects and it will be great to spend several days learning about butterflies and crickets whilst actually observing them. Such sightings are rare because of a huge decline in the insect population due to changes in farming methods. Insect food plants have been destroyed by herbicides, and pesticides have killed indiscriminately. It is often forgotten that insects are important not only as pollinators, but because they control other harmful insect pests. '
Sharon Williams, Head of Environmental Engagement at Earthwatch, says, 'This is the second year for these important awards that give teachers and conservation educators the chance to look at environmental issues in a way that is inspiring and immediate. This enables them to go back to their classrooms and communities with increased awareness about conservation and with new ideas, creating a network of ambassadors for the environment.'
Alexa will also be given a £125 Community Action Grant to design and develop a conservation project in her school or community.
Alexa intends 'to use my award money to help Cradoc School make a wildflower meadow. Once established, the meadow should support a variety of wild flowers and grasses, encouraging insects and birds. It will enhance the school grounds and will provide a learning resource that can serve many subjects.'
For details about the 2005 Earthwatch Environmental Awards for Primary Teachers, please contact: Julie Mackay, Programme Office, Environmental Engagement, Telephone: 01865 318826, fax: 01865 311 383 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For press information, interviews and images, contact:
Zoe Gamble, Press Officer, Earthwatch, on + 44 (0) 1865 318813 / email@example.com