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Postgrad entomology student teaches Shropshire schoolchildren

Posted 29 May 2015

Andrew Cutts during his visit to Stiperstones Primary School

Shropshire schoolchildren have been learning all about the importance of pollinators and food production thanks to Harper Adams postgraduate entomologist, Andrew Cutts.

Andrew visited Stiperstones and Chirbury Primary Schools as part of Buzz in the Borders – a project run by the Stiperstones and Corndon Hill Country Landscape Partnership Scheme.

He delivered two-hour lessons to the children and their teachers explaining why pollinators are important and how they link to food production and the wider world. Pollinators include insects such as bumblebees, hoverflies, wasps, butterflies and beetles.

The children have since put their learning into practice by producing a series of video and audio ‘buzzes’, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio Shropshire and uploaded to affiliated websites throughout June.

39-year-old MSc Entomology student Andrew from Telford said: “I’m delighted to be involved with Buzz in the Borders because as both a former primary school teacher and keen entomologist, it pulls together my different expertise and passions.

“It’s a positive, worthwhile project that educates the next generation in a fun and engaging way.

“Children can be a powerful agent for change looking into the future, so if we inform them about the importance of looking after our native pollinators, it will hopefully follow through into their later lives.”

Following the sessions from Andrew, the children were split into groups of twos and threes to produce a video about a pollinator, using a research template from Andrew. Sophie Peach from Words Aloud provided coaching to improve their presentation skills and Tom Middleton of Shropshire Media Network assisted with the filming.

The audio files will be lifted from the videos and broadcast daily on BBC Radio Shropshire, raising awareness further of pollinators and the wider scheme.

Andrew, who also studied countryside and environmental management at Harper Adams before working in industry, said: “Although I am interested in all areas of entomology – the science of insects, pollinators are of particular interest as that is what my postgraduate research project is about.

“In the future I would love a role that combines both entomology and outreach, so a project such as Buzz in the Borders is proving a great experience.”

Buzz in the Borders aims to raise awareness of local native pollinators by offering a range of activities, courses and events including wildlife gardening. The project began this spring and will run for three years.

The aim of the Stiperstones & Corndon Hill Country Landscape Partnership Scheme is to conserve and enhance the local heritage and wildlife, raise awareness, and provide opportunities to all, but in particular local communities within the scheme for involvement, access and learning. 

For more information, please contact Amanda Perkins, Countryside Officer: Amanda.Perkins@shropshire.gov.uk or visit here.

'Buzzes' will be broadcast daily from June 1 on BBC Radio Shropshire at about 7.57am.

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