Welcome to the Flora schools project page. During the academic year 2014/2015, eight Lancaster primary schools took part in a project to accompany our acquisition of the Area of the nature reserve called Flora. This is the web page that was created for the schools involved in the project. It contains information and resources which were of use in our visits to the schools and their subsequent visits to the Flora site. The information and downloadable resources are not just specific to the project. You are very welcome to use them as you wish.
On this page you will find information and downloadable resources for you to use in support of our visits to your school.
The resources have been divided into subject areas but check all of them as there will be some overlap of topics. More information and resources will be added during the course of the project. There are also other resources to be found on the Learning Zone pages.
Habitats and Wildlife
There are several different habitats in the nature reserve – woodland, wet meadow, ponds and grassland. Although several of the activities below relate to hedgerows, and we do have a lot of them in the nature reserve, they are also applicable to woodlands and other habitats.
|Food chains||Food chain worksheet|
|Introduction to Habitats||Habitats – who lives there|
|Importance of Hedges to wildlife|
Landscape and Farming
The Flora part of the nature reserve currently comprises a small area of mature mixed woodland, hedgerows, wet meadow and grazed pasture. The area has been farmed for many years prior to becoming a nature reserve. There are records and physical evidence dating back to the 13th century. In the fields are visible signs of medieval strip fields farmed by the townspeople of Lancaster. Here they would have grazed livestock and most likely grown oats. The method of farming changed little through Tudor and Georgian times until the early 19th century when the fields were made larger and probably many of the hedges planted. In more recent times the fields have been grazed by sheep.
Pony Wood was planted as a landscape feature by Aldcliffe Hall in the mid 19th century. In the wet meadow areas of the reserve we will have cattle grazing at certain times of the year. You may be surprised to know that having cattle in these areas can be beneficial to some wildlife, particularly ground nesting birds.
In the fields around Pony Wood we plan to grow cereal, most probably oats, as was done many years ago. Although not as a food crop for humans but as a fodder crop for animals. By doing this we will also be creating a new habitat for wildlife. Around the field edge will be a ‘field margin’. A field margin is a ‘wild’ area of about 3 metres wide around a field edge where crops are not grown. This creates a haven suitable for wild flowers, bees, seed eating birds and small mammals.
Literacy and Storymaking
The varied habitats and history of the area can provide a wealth of ideas for factual and creative writing. Here are activities that you and your class will enjoy.
As you will see from the history section, a variety of objects dating back several centuries have been found in the area. These objects can fire the imagination and be a resource for storywriting. – how did they get there, who did they belong to, were they lost or put there?
Here are some suggested activities to complement our work with you.
Make a Hedgerow Collage
During our project, why not make a hedgerow collage for your classroom wall and use it to show changes in a hedgehroughout the seasons of the year.
Here are some ideas for you:
|Autumn leaves||Bare branches|
|Fruits and seeds||An old birds nest|
|A chirpy robin||Fungi|
|A hedgehog hibernating in the leaves at the bottom of the hedge|
|A solitary owl in a tree waiting for a mouse!|
|Emerging leaves and flowers||Hawthorn blossom|
|Butterflies and Bees||Birds making nests|
In session two we will be making a piece of felt from raw wool. It is very likely that people who worked on the land would have worn items of clothing made from felt, possibly made in their own homes. Felt is a fabric that has been used for many centuries to make coats, hats, blankets and other items.
Working with clay
How about making clay tiles depicting the work of a medieval farmer perhaps showing cereal being planted or harvested, ploughing and animals. Or try your hand at making a simple pot.
There is evidence of human activity in and around the Flora site over many years. In the fields are visible signs of medieval strip fields. These are called ‘lynchets’ and were terraced strips wide enough to accommodate a plough and team of oxen. A stone axe has been found in the fields near Lucy brook. A variety of small objects have also recently been found. These include buckles, sack seals, musket balls and coins dating back to the early 18th century.
All of these fire the imagination as to how they might have got there and who lost them!
Also look at the other pages of the Fairfield Association website where you will find more information about the nature reserve, our work and many useful photographs.