22 June, 2018
West Lothian primary school wins national nature camera trap competition
Budding naturalists at Blackridge Primary School wowed Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) with their camera footage of local wildlife and scooped a top national prize. The future David Attenboroughs and Michaela Strachans took part in the SNH competition alongside 20 other primary schools across Scotland, with Blackridge winning their own camera trap – a remotely activated camera that captures footage of animals. The prize was presented to thrilled pupils by SNH Chair Mike Cantlay, at the Royal Highland Show.
Mike Cantlay, Chair of SNH, said: “Connecting people with nature is so important to us, and what better way to connect young people with nature than by getting primary schools involved in capturing camera footage of their local wildlife? Camera traps are an exciting way to encourage children to combine technology with outdoor learning and the environment.
It’s been fantastic to see young people all over the country get excited about seeing and identifying the various birds and mammals that live near their schools. We were very impressed by the different ways pupils collected their footage but were particularly excited by the methods used at Blackridge Primary School, where they developed their own animal point cards based on Pokemon.”
SNH provided camera trap equipment and training to rangers and outdoor education staff who supported each school ‘on the ground,’ helping them to gather footage from January to April 2018. Loch Leven National Nature Reserve Officer Amee Hood provided ongoing support and advice to Blackridge.
Ruth Reid, P6 Teacher at Blackridge Primary School, said: “This was the first time our pupils had used camera traps, which was very exciting for them – but they also wanted to make a game out of the project. As fans of Pokemon, they designed cards for local wildlife species and earned PokePoints for each animal they caught. This fun competition and ongoing support from Amee ensured the pupils were engaged from the outset. We’re thrilled to have won our own camera trap, and look forward to keeping the PokeHunt going!”
All participating schools were encouraged to come up with innovative ways to engage the pupils, who had to be involved at all stages of planning and recording their submission. Each school was also asked to submit their findings to their Local Records Centre, to help build an important local picture of the variety of birds and other animals living right on their doorstep.
The competition was funded by SNH and delivered with the support of the North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership.
- SNH Media
Notes to editors
PHOTOS: Credit: Lorne Gill/SNH
Header image: Blackridge Primary School students with Francesca Osowska, CEO of SNH at Royal Highland Show
Image 2: Blackridge Primary School students receiving camera trap award from Mike Cantlay, Chair of SNH and Francesca Osowska, CEO of SNH at Royal Highland Show
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