A ‘Ratty’ nature role for school pupils

Youngsters are being urged to turn detective and find out more about water voles by joining Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s ‘Restoring Ratty’ team.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 4:56 pm
Updated Monday, 7th June 2021, 6:01 pm
Picture by Kelly Hollings.
Picture by Kelly Hollings.

Now in its fifth year, the education initiative has already seen the team work with schools in the north west of the county.

Now, thanks to a generous £2,018 donation from the Ray Wind Funds programme, the team is set to capture the hearts and minds of pupils in other parts of Northumberland.

Groups of pupils from Cambo First School, Belsay School, Otterburn Primary School and three others are visiting one of the water vole release sites at Ferny Knowe near Lewisburn.

While there, the pupils explore water vole habitats, search for tracks and signs of water vole activity and find out more about water vole food chains, their life cycles and habitats.

In addition, they are also taught basic fieldwork skills and how to map wildlife sightings.

Kelly Hollings, Restoring Ratty project officer, took the photo, above, of a group from Cambo First School.

She said: “We cannot thank the Ray Wind Funds programme enough for its generous donation that is guaranteed to put a smile on faces and a spring in the step of the young people who are keen to learn more about ‘Ratty’ and his friends.”

The Ray Wind Farm, operated by Vattenfall, sits on the Ray Estate in Northumberland. For every year of its working life, Vattenfall has pledged to donate money to the communities that fall within its catchment area.