River Irk – Year 6 science/geography visit

We are very lucky to have the beautiful River Irk right on our doorstep! Year 6 visited this morning and even though the weather was not on our side, the children had an interesting time with Mr. de Boer. He showed us how to check the health of the water by measuring the levels of minerals and metals. The children could also check how healthy the water in the River Irk is by looking at which creatures are present in the water. A lot of Himalayan Balsam grows here too and is a problem for the indigenous plants, so we did some ‘balsam bashing’ while we were there.

Remembrance Day Blackley Forest 11.11.22

On Friday 11.11.22, Year 6 had a visit to ‘The Remembrance Meadow’ – an area in Blackley Forest – where we spent some time with Dot and some of ‘The Friends of Blackley Forest’.

The children read some poems – both some well known poems and some that they wrote themselves. They did an amazing job.

We were thrilled to be joined by some talented bugle players who played ‘The Last Post’, we observed a two minute silence and heard the cannons in the distance.

We laid a wreath on the memorial bench, and a selection of the lovely poems that some of the children have written are now permanently displayed there.

6P ‘Balsam bashing’ in Blackley Forest

6P had a very energetic morning, tearing up Himalayan Balsam from areas near the river in Blackley Forest.

Balsam looks very lovely, yet is a problematic plant. It competes with native plants for light, nutrients, pollinators and space, excluding other plants and reducing biodiversity. It dies back in the winter, leaving river banks bare and open to erosion. Dead leaves and plant debris from the weed block waterways and lead to flooding. It was introduced to the British Isles in 1839 by Victorian plant hunters who were keen on its beautiful pink flowers and exploding seed pods. The plant has had plenty of time to establish in the UK and, over the last 50 years, has spread rapidly.

We were accompanied by Groundwork UK, an amazing organisation, who work with communities and tackle issues – whether natural or man-made.

6P worked really, really hard to pull up as much of this destructive plant as they could, even making a pile of balsam which was as tall as Zayan!

Year 6 River Irk science trip with Groundwork UK and The Mersey Rivers Trust

The children in 6P spent an absolutely wonderful morning with some staff from Groundwork UK and The Mersey Rivers Trust. As a school, we are so lucky to have Blackley Forest and the River Irk right on our doorstep. We were able to spend the morning exploring the area and the animals that inhabit it, learning about how rivers shape our landscape and how to work out how fast or slow the river water flows.

The children were shown how to collect insect samples from the water, to analyse what kind of creatures they are – and to have a good look at them through a magnifying glass. Interestingly, the diverse range of creatures found in the water indicates how ‘healthy’ the river is. The brilliant Mersey River Trust were happy to share the good news with us that the River Irk has hugely improved in cleanliness over the last few years, which is lovely to hear!

The children learnt all about animals who live in the forest and took part in a scavenger hunt.

They then learnt all about the flow of rivers and the geographical terms used, then tested the water flow speed with a version of ‘Pooh Sticks’. Using wooden blocks, the children calculated average flow speed and learnt about currents.

We’re very grateful for Groundwork UK and The Mersey Rivers Trust for such a fun and educational morning.