Children Help Barn Owls

Wildlife experts from the World Owl Trust and Forestry Commission have teamed up with local schools to help protect barn owls in south Cumbria.

Rusland Barn Owl project picture

Tythe the Barn Owl with children from Hawkshead and Levens Valley Schools, along with Kate Jordan Education Officer for Grizedale and Hilary Lange UK Conservation Officer for the World Owl Trust.

The World Owl Trust at Muncaster Castle near Ravenglass and the Forestry Commission at Grizedale Forest near Ambleside are joint partners in the Rusland Valley Barn Owl Project, which aims to improve barn owl numbers and habitat in Grizedale and the Rusland Valley.  The project is funded by the Tourism and Conservation Partnership.

As part of the project, the experts have been working with children from Hawkshead and Levens Valley Primary Schools to get them involved and teach them about the barn owl conservation work taking place on their doorstep.

The Forestry Commission and the World Owl Trust recently staged an event at The Yan, Grizedale’s forest learning centre, where the schools took part in a number of hands on activities, including art work and finding out what a barn owl eats by examining their undigested food.

Tania Crockett, People Engagement Manager for the Forestry Commission at Grizedale said:

“We’re delighted that two local primary schools joined us to take part in this exciting project.  The combination of activities worked really well, from seeing a barn owl up close to thinking in detail about its eyes and feathers and creating artwork about them.

“The highlight of the day was finding the bones from a bat in an owl pellet – fairly uncommon food for a barn owl!”

The children also got the opportunity to express what they had learnt with help from local artist Hannah Fox.  Taking inspiration from the owls, the children each made an individual piece of art from felts and other textiles.  These will all be brought together to make six striking wall hangings which will remain on exhibition in the Yan Building to inspire more people about the project.

The World Owl Trust and Forestry Commission hope that by encouraging landowners to provide nest boxes and leave some areas of rough grassland uncultivated, young owls will disperse through the valley and boost the local population.

Hilary Lange UK Conservation Officer of the World Owl Trust said:

“We are educating local children about the project, hopefully to ensure the future of the barn owl in their area.

“We now hope the children’s parents will offer new sites and manage a small area of land with barn owls in mind, to ensure there will be a future for this magnificent bird”.

More information
World Owl Trust
Forestry Commission in North West England
Muncaster Castle

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