Teenagers dig deep to pick up award

Morpeth's KEVI High School students who helped to create a new garden at the school-(left to right-back row) Parent Tracey Boldy, Sam Finn from the John Muir Award, Coun Mark Horton-Mayor of Morpeth, Louise Gebhard, Francesca Boldy, Sam Basford, Ben McWilliams and (front two-left to right) Libby Gibson and Sarah Lee.
Morpeth's KEVI High School students who helped to create a new garden at the school-(left to right-back row) Parent Tracey Boldy, Sam Finn from the John Muir Award, Coun Mark Horton-Mayor of Morpeth, Louise Gebhard, Francesca Boldy, Sam Basford, Ben McWilliams and (front two-left to right) Libby Gibson and Sarah Lee.
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A GROUP of Morpeth teenagers have been rewarded for creating an attractive wildlife haven at their school.

The team of Sixth Form students at King Edward VI School have been doing digging, planting and landscaping work after school and during breaks, from last October to July, to transform an area of disused land that was full of overgrown shrubbery into a new garden space.

As well as growing a range of wildflowers, they have put together a bug hotel, filled used water bottles with toilet paper and cut small holes to give wildlife a place to shelter and made a section of the site into a diamond shape to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Their efforts impressed judges from Morpeth Town Council, who presented Sam Basford, Francesca Boldy, Louise Gebhard, Libby Gibson, Sarah Lee and Ben McWilliams with the Mayor’s Cup for School Gardening.

Libby said: “We wanted to turn this unattractive piece of land into something that everyone at the school can enjoy and we chose to grow wildflowers to attract insects like bees and butterflies.

“We grew plants that we like from our gardens at home and we went to different places across Morpeth to get the best prices for seeds and equipment.”

Louise added: “It was an unexpected nice surprise to find out that the Mayor was also giving us a trophy for our garden and I’m very proud to win the competition.”

One award they knew they were getting in advance was from the John Muir Trust, which encourages an environmental agenda within schools and youth organisations and people of all backgrounds to connect, enjoy and care for wild places.

To achieve the accolade, those taking part must take personal responsibilty for the development and conservation of a specified site.

The organisation’s Regional Manager Sam Finn said: “I’m stunned that these students have created something so fantastic on their own.

“They have given a great deal of thought and care into how the garden will be taken care of after they leave and they should be very proud of themselves. Hopefully, other pupils will follow in their footsteps.”

A bird feeder is in place and gypsum has been used to help break up the soil.

The team received a £250 donation from the regional Keyfund scheme following a successful presentation to a funding panel.

The town council gave them a £50 top-up from its bloom budget.

Morpeth Mayor Mark Horton said: “A student who was not involved in the project was just telling me that some pupils were questioning why the group were working on this site at first, but now everyone is very impressed with what they have achieved.

“It’s a lovely use for a piece of land which used to be nothing spectacular and they are fully deserving winners of the Mayor’s Cup.”