PUPILS at Dunsford Community Academy, part of the Learning Academy Partnership, recently had a night-time adventure spotting bats and moths.
While enjoying toasted marshmallows by the firepit, the children also engaged in a comprehensive survey of nocturnal wildlife around the grounds of Dunsford Community Academy.
The academy was kindly given 10 magenta heterodyne bat detectors on loan from the Devon Bat Group.
The devices allowed the pupils to listen to bat calls, and they managed to record 51 common pipistrelle bats emerging from their roost in the main school building.
The academy’s bat roost is being monitored as part of the Bat Conservation Trust’s National Bat Monitoring Programme.
Using a moth trap, the children were also able to identify 10 different species of moth.
The results of the survey have been submitted to the Devon Biodiversity Record Centre.
The evening’s activities were organised as part of the academy’s ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship, as the staff and pupils managed to raise just over £150 for a Green Flag application.
Earlier in the year, Dunsford Community Academy began its journey towards gaining an Eco-Schools Green Flag through initiatives such as tree planting, litter picking, monitoring pond life and increasing efforts to recycle.
The academy also participated in ‘No Mow May’ this year, allowing the grass, verges and banks around the grounds to grow free to provide a habitat for pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
Andrew Grimley, headteacher at Dunsford Community Academy, said: ‘Equipping our pupils with a respect for nature is central to what we do at Dunsford Community Academy.
‘It has been an area of increasing focus for us, as we set our sights on achieving an Eco-Schools Green Flag.
‘Supported by our Learning Academy Partnership colleagues, we aim to foster a love of wildlife in all our children.
‘I’d like to thank Devon Bat Group for supporting our event by giving our pupils access to extra resources.
‘Collaborating with local organisations provides expertise which is invaluable to the school community as a whole, whilst also giving our pupils inspiration to become the conservation experts of the future.’