Our 'Our Wild Coast' story...

Ysgol Tir Morfa in Rhyl have been participating in the project now for nearly two years. Here is teacher Sara Griffith’s moving account of their first year with us, from the experiences they’ve had to the changes that she has seen in the young people who have taken part.

If you asked any one of my pupils to pick their favourite memory from year 11 I guarantee that the Our Wild Coast adventures would feature highly if not in 100% of their answers.

We live in a beautiful part of the world and at a time when our sea waters are rising and our oceans are filling with plastic it is essential that we educate our children about the environment and most importantly encourage our young people, the caretakers of the planet, to actually care. Thanks to the resources, expertise and time provided by the Our Wild Coast project my pupils have had unique opportunities which could not have been afforded with school funds alone and, due to the enthusiasm, knowledge and creativity demonstrated by the leaders, my group have gained so much more than I could have originally imagined. If you asked any one of my pupils to pick their favourite memory from year 11 I guarantee that the Our Wild Coast adventures would feature highly if not in 100% of their answers.

From watching baby seals at Angel Bay, to path clearing at the Morfas, to forest dancing in the Botanical Gardens in Bangor this group of young people have had the chance to connect, conserve and be creative with the coastline of Wales.

The project has allowed pupils to understand the consequences of their actions seeing how they can make a change and has provided a real context for their learning.

The Our Wild Coast project has been so much more than just a day each fortnight for us. The ethos of the project has become embedded within the spirit of our classroom with quotes and questions related to Our Wild Coast learning being evident throughout the rest of the curriculum. 

The teamwork skills, confidence and tenacity of this group have grown significantly due to the experiences they have had with the project. Pupils have had the chance to join local forums; three go regularly and one pupil has had the opportunity to visit parliament as an Our Bright Future representative. The class worked as a team to plan and execute a litter pick at the local Brickfield Pond nature reserve. They have begun a school wide crisp bag recycling scheme with Terracycle now including other schools and members of the community and recently a small group from the class represented OWC at a celebration event in Bruton Park Nature Reserve in Rhyl. Pupils giving their own time, out of school, inspired by the Our Wild Coast project.

The project has allowed pupils to understand the consequences of their actions seeing how they can make a change and has provided a real context for their learning. In Art we had the opportunity to make a mosaic celebrating the history of the Brickfield pond; a place the pupil group now endeavor to keep tidy from litter. For our English accreditation we studied the novel ‘Sky Hawk’ about the migration journey of an osprey. The excitement of the group then seeing an osprey, its mate and chick nesting at the Brenig could not be measured.

They’ve gained a greater understanding of their local environment and grown passionate about caring for it.

My group of young people have visited nature reserves, spotted osprey, seals, red squirrels and porpoises. They have cleared paths and built nesting boxes. They have worked with members of the community and gained information from those with experience and passion. They have lain on the bare ground basked in sun and sheltered from the rain under waterproofs on beaches and up mountains. They have seen the coastline from hills, shores and from out at sea. They have tasted wild garlic, the salt from sea spray, the sweat from hard work and …ice cream. They have felt the bumps from the waves, the creatures in the rock pools, the grass beneath their bare feet, the wind in their hair and the shade from the trees. They have sat alone, worked in pairs and danced with nature. They’ve listened to waterfalls, babbling brooks, bird song, stories and…each other. They’ve gained a greater understanding of their local environment and grown passionate about caring from it.

They have looked, they have listened and they have laughed…a lot.

Thank you Our Wild Coast for this amazing opportunity.