On Thursday, three representatives from the Lambrook Eco Team had the pleasure of speaking with Corinne Bespolka who, along with her family, founded the Cameron Bespolka Trust. In its own words, the charity aims to ‘inspire young people to love and appreciate animals, in particular birds, nature, and our environment. By experiencing the outdoors first hand, teenagers can connect with nature and make a difference to our planet.’ The charity was set up in memory of Cameron, who the Bespolka’s sadly lost in 2013 and who held a burgeoning passion for birding. It was fantastic to watch the three members of our Eco Team – Jemima (Year 4), Beatrice (Year 6), and Harry (Year 8) interview Corinne. We all learned a great deal from our interview thanks to some really inquisitive and thoughtful questions.

Over the course of our Zoom, Corinne was able to share with us some impressive insights into the work of the Trust, including their ‘Young Ambassador Program. We learned that the Trust proudly sponsors young people from across the UK who share a passion for the outside world, be it birds,  bats or even spiders – a surprisingly essential part of our ecosystem. Beatrice and Harry were interested to know more about Cameron’s Cottage. Since November of last year, the Trust has been working to completely refurbish a derelict cottage, deep in the New Forest, in order to create a unique residential educational space. Corinne told us that work should be completed by May 2021 and, once finished, the Trust can begin welcoming various groups from schools and colleges alike. Hopefully, Lambrook can visit too!

Jemima asked for some tips on creating our own ‘patch’ – a site where we can regularly visit and from which record the bird species we see. Corinne pointed us in the direction of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch which is a very necessary example of citizen science. Lambrook pupils, as part of their Activities programme, have also been taking part in their own bird watching sessions and making garden bird feeders too.  “It is so important that we all engage in these projects,” said Corinne, “because birds can tell us such a huge amount about our local area and the impact of climate change upon it.” Perhaps we can sign up some eager birders for the next Birdwatch event and note all the species we see across the grounds of Lambrook – especially those pied wagtails!

Corinne also shared some tips for our Eco Team to help make our school life more sustainable, some of which have been initiated by our Eco Team already. Not only could we limit our food waste by ‘taking what we need and eating what we take,’ or setting up classroom recycling competitions, but we could also create our own specific wildlife garden or vegetable patch. Even something as simple as leaving out two water containers of different depths set at different heights, would allow many varying species to drink freely, especially the increasingly endangered hedgehog. Corinne encouraged all of us at school to utilise any outdoor space we can, or even can see from our window for the benefit of our wellbeing. So next time you’re looking outside, see how many bird species you can spy.

The Lambrook Eco Team really did impress with their questions and engagement in the Eco issues and you can find out more about the Cameron Bespolka Trust here.

James Bird, Lambrook Gappie 

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