School sings to save Songbirds!

A Lancashire school teamed up with Blackpool Zoo to add its voice to a global conservation campaign.

After learning about the plight of endangered songbirds in Asia, Layton School, in Blackpool, has been working closely with the zoo’s bird section and education team to raise awareness of the European Association of Zoo’s and Aquariums’ Silent Forest campaign.

Earlier in spring, Blackpool Zoo opened two new Asian Songbird Aviaries and after hearing about the conservation work the team has been carrying out, teachers decided to focus its curriculum around the project.

During the last term of the year, year five pupils visited the zoo’s new aviaries to talk to visitors and they have also completed a variety of project work, which will be on display on the mobile conservation station throughout the holidays.

Lucy Fidler, a year five teacher at Layton School, explained: “The school’s curriculum has focused heavily on The Silent Forest Campaign this term and we have loved working with Blackpool Zoo to support such a fantastic cause.

“The project has given the students a real sense of purpose and seen them produce some of the very best literacy work they have ever written, from fact sheets detailing the species being welcomed into the zoo’s new aviaries, to newspaper articles and even a diary extract written from the perspective of a captured bird!”

The pupils’ work culminated in a performance at the zoo’s Elefest event earlier in July. Lucy added: “The children’s final task was to write and compose a song about the campaign with the help of our school music teacher.

“They performed the finished version at Elefest and, as it went down so well, we have decided to release it on iTunes to help raise money for the campaign.

“It will also be played throughout summer on the zoo’s conservation station.

“Our students really have done themselves and the school proud!”

The Silent Forest campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of songbirds in Asia that are threatened with extinction due to excessive and strongly rooted consumption of wild songbirds for trade, singing competitions, pets, export, traditional medicine and food.

Luke Forster, Head of Blackpool Zoo’s bird section, said he was thrilled to hear that Layton School has chosen to include the project in its curriculum.

He said: “We are over the moon that students at Layton School are learning about the plight of songbirds in Asia and extremely grateful for their fantastic help in raising awareness.

“The children’s artwork looks amazing and will be displayed in our exhibition room from September.

“It was great to hear them sharing their knowledge with visitors when we welcomed them to our Silent Forest Aviary in July and I hope they all have a fantastic break.”