Pupils plant seeds of future in South Tyneside

Back from left, Coun Geraldine Kilgour, Northumbrian Water project manager Loren Jennings and WWT learning and engagement officer Nikki Woodward with pupils.

Back from left, Coun Geraldine Kilgour, Northumbrian Water project manager Loren Jennings and WWT learning and engagement officer Nikki Woodward with pupils.

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Green-fingered school pupils in South Tyneside have planted the seeds of the future after getting to grips with the environment.

Children from Fellgate Primary School and St Joseph’s Primary, in Jarrow, have taken part in Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems) for Schools planting days.

Fellgate Primary School's new pond and water plants.

Fellgate Primary School's new pond and water plants.

It follows the installation of SUDS features as part of a £4.5million response to flooding in the Fellgate area of the town in 2012, tackling the existing and future flood threat from intense rainfall.

Northumbrian Water and South Tyneside Council came together to deliver the project, by creating ponds, introducing wild plants and planting additional trees.

A number of planting sessions were organised in the grounds of the two schools, following the completion of the work at the start of the year.

As well as pupils from both schools, dignitaries, including Coun Geraldine Kilgour, ward member for Fellgate and Hedworth, incorporating Calf Close, have also helped out.

Working in the area, in partnership with South Tyneside Council, gave us a real opportunity to not only reduce the risk of future flooding, but to make a positive impact on the environment

Loren Jennings

Loren Jennings, project manager at Northumbrian Water, said: “Reducing flooding is a top priority for Northumbrian Water, and using sustainable drainage systems allows us to tackle problems caused by surface water.

“Working in the area, in partnership with South Tyneside Council, gave us a real opportunity to not only reduce the risk of future flooding, but to make a positive impact on the environment.

“The WWT SUDS For Schools project tied in perfectly, allowing us to also engage children from Jarrow and connect them to the environment in a way that they will be able to see develop for years to come.”

Coun Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “We understand the impact that flooding has on our communities.

Fellgate Primary School's new pond and water plants.

Fellgate Primary School's new pond and water plants.

“With this scheme, as well as providing additional reassurance for our residents, we also saw an opportunity to create new natural habitats and enhance biodiversity.”

Coun Joan Atkinson, lead member for children, young people and families, added: “I am delighted that local schoolchildren have been able to get involved in planting these seeds, which builds their knowledge of their local environment in a very practical way.

“Through the creation of ponds and wild flora, children now have access to a long-term education facility.”

Nikki Woodward, SUDS learning and engagement officer at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, said: “The children have been really involved in the whole creative process, from designing the SUDS to planting the seeds and flowers that will grow in them.

WWT SUDS learning and engagement officer Nikki Woodward

WWT SUDS learning and engagement officer Nikki Woodward

“It has been a pleasure working with them and I hope they’re proud of these beautiful habitats and the benefit they’ll bring the school and the community for years to come.”