(School page being updated - but still live)

I started the Urban Wildlife Jottings weblog to show the day to day comings and goings of wildlife in and around my garden. This was primarily set up as part of my work with schools to illustrate the kind of experiences you can have exploring your own local patch which may be your garden, local park or even your school grounds.
I live in a bungalow with a small urban garden but even so we have a wide range of wildlife ranging from bees (14 species so far), butterflies, numerous birds (including goldfinch, gold crest and great tits), frogs, toads and slowworms and the occasional fox and hedgehog.

But you never know what you will see which is always very exciting. I have recorded some unusual birds flying over our garden too which range from red kite, buzzard, woodcock and lapwing. 
I recently discovered comma caterpillars in the track next to our bungalow and also pipistrelle bats which use the track as part of their foraging route. They also forage in our garden.

The weblog was set up to inspire people, including school children, to take a closer look at their own patch as you will often be amazed at the diversity you will find.

As an environmental educator for 25 years I have worked with many schools to help them develop their grounds for wildlife and as a teaching resource.

School grounds provide many excellent opportunities for first hand science enquiry, geography and more. I have also run various sessions with school children within their school grounds from habitat surveys to mini beast hunts, birds and pond dipping. 

I also run sessions for teacher professional development which focusing on developing school grounds for wildlife, for children and as a cross curriculum teaching resource.


School grounds can provide important sanctuaries for wildlife and at the same time provide some excellent opportunities for engaging pupils with the natural world through the curriculum. In fact I have found that the more you develop your grounds for wildlife the greater the opportunities for teaching.

A good start point is to create a habitat map of your grounds mapping out all the natural and man-made areas. I have included 2 examples below.

School 1 typical school

School 2 Urban school
Urban schools can be just as important to wildlife and provide exciting learning experiences.

The next thing to consider is the connectivity between the different habitats that make up your grounds and how they connect with the surrounding area. Undertake a survey of the wildlife that is found within the school grounds. this can be ongoing and contributed to through lessons, clubs and outside experts. If possible, survey surrounding habitats such as any nearby parks, gardens etc to see what wildlife is outside of your school that you might be able to encourage.

Use the information gained to help you encourage more wildlife. For example, bird flight paths in and out of your grounds can be used to help site bird feeders or nest boxes. Remember to survey at different times of the year. Continue to re-evaluate your grounds. Have birds visited the bird feeder or nest box, is there a better site for them. This can also be done as part of the curriculum.

If you would like a school visit or further advice, please contact me at

As a taster for Sussex school, I have provided some examples below. The sessions I have illustrated have been largely chosen where I have permission to use the photographs. If you would like to know more about the service I can provide, please contact me on


Investigating Urban Invertebrates - session for the West Sussex Pupil Enrichment programme.

Just as the children arrived we were treated to a great view of a roe deer and fawn and a fox. However most information on this link relates to an invertebrate session which is a mixture of classroom, outside investigation and use of digital microscope.


Investigating Urban Birds - session for the West Sussex Pupil Enrichment programme.

This session was similar to the invertebrate session above. The pupils learned about the natural history of some urban birds and what attracts them to urban habitats. We discussed the habitat needs of blackbirds and then investigated the grounds to see if they were suitable for this species.

We also surveyed the grounds looking for bird species and recorded them on a map. The children used their observations to list the needs of the birds they recorded. The children also learned about bird behaviour and the territorial use of bird song.