Dundee Science Centre

Dundee Playgrounds To Become Wildlife Havens

Dundee primary school gardens could become a haven for birdlife, as over 30 bird boxes take flight across the city.

Dundee Science Centre is offering the boxes, created by Carse of Gowrie and District Men’s Shed, to every primary school across Dundee.  The move follows the delivery of temporary kits to schools last year, many of which sparked a range of projects and discussions around wildlife and the environment.

The new, more robust boxes are accompanied by a Bird Box Booklet featuring tips on caring for our feathered friends, attracting a more diverse mix of species and building pine feeders and seed bombs.   Pupils can also enjoy a bird-themed word search and scavenger hunt. Later this year, Dundee Science Centre hopes to install a livestream bird box in its own outdoor space.

Bird boxes

Back row, L-R, Mark Johnson and George Wickenden of Dundee Science Centre with Philip Smith, Deputy Head of Barnhill Primary School. Front row, L-R, Max, Jessica Donald and Ella Grimmond, all from P7.

Taking delivery of her school’s bird box, Angela Bruce, Head Teacher at Barnhill Primary School, said, “Being able to install a simple nest box will preserve inner-city bird populations, enhance local biodiversity, and help pupils learn about migration, birds and the environment. We have recently obtained our Eco-Schools Green Flag, and one of our targets from our action plan is to increase biodiversity around the school premises. This will be the first step in enhancing our local surroundings benefiting the school and the local community.”

George Wickenden, Dundee Science Centre, added, “We’re delighted to be able to offer each primary school in the city a permanent bird box for their outdoor space.  Designed to attract more species into school gardens, these boxes will support a wide range of teaching and learning within our local schools, allowing children to play their part in attracting wildlife into their school gardens, looking after them and learning about the different species.

“Many birds will enter bird boxes during the autumn and winter, looking for a suitable place to roost or feed. They often use the same boxes for nesting the following spring, so schools will hopefully see the fruits of their labour in a few months. We’d like to thank Men’s Shed for their hard work in creating these beautiful boxes and encouraging more children to take an interest in the wildlife on their doorstep.”

Bill Beckers, Secretary of Carse of Gowrie and District Men’s Shed, added, “We were delighted to respond to Dundee Science Centre’s request to design and build bird boxes for the city’s primary schools. They wanted something a little more robust and permanent than schools might already have, so a few of our Men’s Shed members got stuck in and made them from decking. We do lots in the community, and it’s great knowing that our work will be used to teach and inspire the next generation in conservation and the environment.”

Bird Box

Bill Beckers with George Wickenden.

Dundee Science Centre’s schools’ programme combines a range of topics to excite and inspire pupils in STEM, with activities delivered within the centre, in schools and online. For more information on the activities available, teachers can contact learning@dundeesciencecentre.org.uk.

Originating in Australia, Men’s Sheds have been set up across the country to enable men to come together to pursue practical interests such as wood-turning and metalwork. With over 100 across Scotland, ‘Men’s Shed’ provide a place for men to call their own, where they can spend time sharing skills, knowledge and interests in a relaxed environment.  To find out more about the Carse of Gowrie and District Men’s Shed, please email  cgmenshed@gmail.com or call 07762 376909.