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Schools embrace the April showers!

School children across Thetford have been getting stuck into a brand-new environmental gardening project.

Schools embrace the April showers!

Last autumn, BFER launched a brand-new Rainwater Planters project (supported by the BFER Volunteer and Engagement Programme, and BFER Grants Fund). Through the project,  five schools across Thetford are engaging in a learning programme exploring water sustainability and plant life. Each of the five schools is working with landscape and garden designer, Mia Witham. The pupils are learning about draught effective gardening and how it can support our planet.

As one of the driest habitats in the UK, saving water is extremely important in the Brecks. Each school has engaged in school assemblies with Mia to learn about why water saving is important. They have discovered how the Brecks habitat is abundant with draught resistant species. They are learning how to help their local environment with water saving systems in their school grounds.

In April, each school received a specially designed rainwater planter. These planters are raised beds with a difference! At each school, the rainwater planters connect to an existing water downpipe. When it rains, the water from the pipes (which would usually be wasted) is fed directly into the planters. By filling the planters with layers of soil, grit, and gravel, and plants that can tolerate both draught and damp, the planters will utilise the wastewater to help create a flourishing school garden. The planters have an outflow tap, which allows the pupils to log the amount of water used by the plants, and the amount of water saved compared to the other downpipes on the school grounds.

At the start of the school summer term, 56 pupils from across each of the five schools joined Mia to fill and plant the planters. This included 23 pupils from the Norwich Road Academy, and Drake Primary School Eco Councils.


School children and a visiting tutor Mia Witham standing behind a raised bed with newly planted plants.


A boy prepares to plant a plant into soil, while another watches.

Pupils from Drake Primary School help to prepare their Rainwater Planter.