Butterybank and Coupar Angus Primary School

On 28th September Butterybank Community Woodland welcomed the pupils of Coupar Angus Primary School. Unlike regular class visits to the site, this visit was unique in that all the school pupils visited the woodland in just one day!

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The pupils of the primary school have an ongoing relationship with Butterybank, connecting with the site from its beginning by the planting of the first trees in 2013. The school has continued to build on this relationship using the community amenity  as a safe place for environmental learning, the promotion of local and global citizenship and as a local resource to connect with the curriculum for excellence.

Recently the site has been used to support the children as they work towards a John Muir Award. During the last 6 weeks, pupils have visited Butterybank with teachers, helpers and parents, to carry out diferent activities in P5 6 & 7 groups of mixed ages. The children have investigated the woodland from different angles – landscape, poetry, art, environment and minibeasts – before presenting their conclusions on display boards at school for sharing with all.

This relationship continued on Friday with the entire school visiting Butterybank to unveil an information panel that had been developed and designed by the pupils to further enhance the site and educate visitors.

Nikki Drew, headteacher of Coupar Angus Primary School commented…The Butterybank Woodland is an ideal community space to support outdoor education and the children have been very enthusiastic about all the visits and learning about sustainability and wildlife. We are so lucky to have great links and support from the local community, so a huge thankyou to the Butterybank team for their ongoing partnership working with us. Today has been another opportunity to bring local groups, children and parents together to learn about our environment and how we can protect it for everyone to enjoy for many years to come.

The panel containing information on biodiversity was unveiled by the Primary 7 school house captains as a completion of a year long project. The project started with a pupil visit to the woodland to learn more about the site and its historical connection to the town which was followed by class research as to what biodiversity is and why it is important. These findings led onto a school house competition with each house submitting design ideas and drawings for the new panel. Iain Bentley, one of the panel judges commented that “. He continues to be amazed by the children’s powers of observation, curiosity, initiative and teamwork, encouraged by their equally enthusiastic staff. The new information panel they have designed is a tribute to their commitment and is their gift to the community. Visitors will enjoy walking round Butterybank, challenged by the panel. Today is party time and a fun celebration for them and it’s been a privilege for Rona McKinnon and I to have been involved throughout’.

Iain also expressed his thanks to the funders who supported this idea, Tesco Bags of Help Grant scheme, PKC and the people who voted for the project in a PKC Participatory Budget funding scheme.

The day event was also used to launch a Butterybank promotional leaflet and woodland activity booklet which it is hoped will encourage the community, of all ages, to engage further with this new civic amenity. The leaflet and activity book can be collected from Coupar Angus Town Hall and other local collection points.

BUTTERYBANK COMMUNITY WOODLAND AWARD 2017

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As a result of a visit from Scotland’s Finest Woods in May, judges have recognised the development of Butterybank Community Woodland.  Forward Coupar Angus supports the development of the woodland which was launched in December 2015 and since then about 800 trees have been planted by the Coupar Angus community. Butterybank facilities have been recently upgraded by the installation of an information panel, bench and picnic tables, courtesy of grant support from Perth & Kinross Council and Tesco. The woodland has been planted with a variety of species including oak rowan birch hazel hawthorn holly dogwood western hemlock and spruce. Several memorial trees have also been recently planted.

Butterybank was awarded a Commendation Plaque and Certificate in the Small Woodland Category competition run by Scotland’s Finest Woods. Project Convener Iain Bentley and volunteer Rona McKinnon were presented with the award by Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy. The event was held in the Scottish Government Pavilion at the Royal Highland Show and was supported by the Forestry Commission.

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Judges Penny Cousins and Douglas Wirrall commented ‘We enjoyed the opportunity to visit a woodland in the early stage of establishment and would very much like to re-visit the site in a few years’ time to see how it has progressed. The Butterybank Community Woodland group are to be commended on their vision and perseverance in bringing into being a completely new woodland on the edge of town that has the potential to provide a greatly valued and much used resource for the local community. The concept is inspirational and has been driven forward by a strong and committed leadership team’

A Butterybank spokesperson commented ‘This unexpected and prestigious award is particularly encouraging for the group who have led the community project, especially since it comes from without the town and from woodland specialists. The feedback from the judges was very constructive in helping us plan ahead towards a sustainable management plan. We look forward to installing the cherry wood plaque in the woodland soon’.

Iain Bentley and Rona McKinnon are shown pictured with the awards in the pavilion after the award ceremony and also on Butterybank along with volunteer Bill Ronald.