Schools. Working with communities to promote the conservation of wildlife and biodiversity is an important part of what the Barnsley Biodiversity Trust is about. Key to this is the work of the Trust and its partners with schools in order to help children, young people and their parents appreciate the value of our natural environment and learn how to become involved in its conservation.

Partners in the Biodiversity Trust work with schools to promote biodiversity and an interest in wildlife. Often arrangements can be made for school parties to visit local nature reserves and other sites. Some organisations offer outreach activities with children and young people for schools, as well as talks and advice.

Site visits:

Old Moor and other RSPB reserves

Rabbit Ings Country Park

Wentworth Castle Gardens and

Stainborough Park

Country parks and nature reserves

Bretton country park and lakes

Cannon Hall country park

Carlton Marsh nature reserve

Dearne Valley country park

Elsecar reservoir and country park

Netherwood country park

Potter Holes plantation

Rabbit Ings Country Park

West Haigh wood

Worsbrough country park

Community woodlands

Cudworth Common

Phoenix Park country park

New Park Springs

Wharncliffe woods

Wombwell woods

Outreach activities and support:

Don Catchment River Trust


Forestry Commission rangers

Friends of the Earth

Groundwork - Rabbit Ings

RSPB Old Moor

Voluntary Action Barnsley

Wentworth Castle Trust

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Biodiversity in schools project

From 2008 to 2013 the Biodiversity Trust’s Biodiversity in Schools project worked with a total of 18 schools. A successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for taking forward the approach enables at least an additional 18 schools in Barnsley to benefit over three years to 2016

The approach has the school grounds as its focus and involves the school children in practical activities to learn about their natural heritage and to promote its conservation.

For more information

Volunteers would be welcome to help with this project

To express interest in this project please complete the form: Biodiversity in schools

RSPB Dearne Valley

The facilities the RSPB offers for schools’ visits at Old Moor include an indoor classroom, bird hides, wildlife ponds and areas for educational activities.

Outreach activities are also provided by the RSPB in schools including on wildlife friendly school grounds, and habitats and adaptations.

For more information: RSPB living classrooms old moor

Contacts: Andrea Beardshall

Rabbit Ings country park

Rabbit Ings, a new country park developed on previous industrial land near Royston, provides opportunities for school visits for pond dipping, bug hunting and other activities. The Rabbit Ings Community Project provides outreach activities for schools around Rabbit Ings.

For more information:Land Trust; Leaflet

Contact: Mick Birkinshaw Community Project Officer, Groundwork

Wentworth Castle and Stainborough Parkland

As well as a castle, Wentworth Castle Trust has 60 acres of historic gardens, numerous follies, and 500 acres of parkland including a deer park, grassland and woodland trails. A schools programme is being developed by the Wentworth Castle trust involving visits to the site and outreach activities. A Junior Rangers programme is held at Wentworth Castle during school holidays.

For more information:

Contact: Peter Clegg, Learning and Community Officer

Forestry Commission and Community Woodlands

Forestry Commission rangers work with schools, family centres and youth and community groups in local community woodlands - Cudworth Common, New Park Springs, Phoenix Park and Wombwell Wood and through outreach activities.

The ranger team includes two Forest School trained members. Forest Experience is similar to Forest Schools, includes a range of activities.

FC run a 12 week programme with local colleges, undertake family based activities and practical tasks such as willow weaving, and build things in classrooms that can the be taken to site.

For more details Community woodlands; What’s on

Contact: Helen Connor-Walton, South Yorkshire Community Rangers

Dearne Valley Green Heart

Nature Improvement Area

RSPB field teacher time

Eels in schools

The Eels in schools project is run by the Don Catchment River Trust in the Dearne Valley NIA giving classes of school children the chance to learn about eels.

A class looks after a tank of around 100-200 elvers (baby eels) for 10-12 weeks. This happens around the mid to end of April. At the end of the 10-12 weeks (around July time) the class visits a local wildlife site to release the elvers.

Elvers and tanks are provided by a smokery in Gloucestershire for up to 6 schools within the NIA.

For more details: Eels in schools flyer. Don Catchment River Trust

Contact: Karen Eynon

Barnsley Biodiversity Trust and partners are working with Barnsley schools to rekindle the natural interest of children in wildlife and to develop an awareness of the need for a healthy biodiversity of species and habitats.

Voluntary Action Barnsley promotes the idea of volunteering and supports voluntary activity, including with young people, schools and community groups. Examples include conservation work, tree planting and enterprise activities

For more details:

Contact: Dan Wildsmith

Sustrans Bike It is a national programme to encourage more children to cycle to school with benefits to their health, the environment, and for reducing congestion outside schools.

Activities include: Learn to Ride, Playground Skills, Dr Bike, Puncture Repair, Bike Rides, Get Bright Days, assemblies, classrooms sessions linking cycling with the curriculum, incentive schemes, competitions and lots more.

Bike It officers for Barnsley and Rotherham are working in 12 schools each. They will each be taking on an additional six schools in 2013/2014.

Details: Barnsley Sustrans Bike IT.

Contacts: Barnsley: Amanda Sowerby; Rotherham: Natalie Whelan.

Penistone Friends of the Earth have visited primary schools around the Penistone area, talking about energy, waste, sustainability and bees.

The aim is to interest children in the environment and help them see that there are problems but that they can do something positive about it.

Friends of the Earth’s national Youth and Education Network has resources for schools including a new Bee resource pack for primary schools.

More details:

Contacts: Rachel Gibbins

 See You in the Wild is a current initiative at Rabbit Ings that involves the use of GPS units to integrate local studies and modern technology.


Barnsley Biodiversity Trust and partners are working with Barnsley schools to rekindle the natural interest of children in wildlife and to develop an awareness of the need for a healthy biodiversity of species and habitats.

Barnsley Biodiversity Trust -for update dates see relevant pages