There is an increasing awareness among young people of the need to look after our planet for all our sakes - and not least those who come after us. LookwideUK places great emphasis on green issues and the delivery of our programmes reflects this approach.  

Girls from Benfield School complete John Muir Award

Two students from Benfield School have been discovering more about our ‘wild  places’ and as a result have achieved their John Muir Awards whilst on a LookwideUK programme.

The students went to various places including: QEII Country Park, Whittle Dene, Plessey Woods and Alston Railway.  They explored the areas by taking photographs of the flora and fauna in the different areas, listened and recorded the sounds they heard in each, and sampled pine needle tea using water boiled in Kelly Kettles.

The students decided that to help conserve the beautiful places they went to they would build feeder boxes to support wildlife in the Alston area.  They also picked up their own and other peoples litter in the places we visited so that the places would stay beautiful for others too.

They are now sharing what they learned with others; both said that Alston is completely different to Newcastle, less noisy and less police cars! The surprising thing they learned was that pheasants are not native to our country!


Walker Thomas Gaughan John Muir award

Nine students from the Thomas Gaughan Centre of Walker Technology College have recently taken part in a John Muir award.  The focus of the environmental award was on our very own Hedgehog. 

During the programme the group researched the hedgehog and found that its numbers had declined greatly over the last 10 years.  They researched ways that we could help out.

We found that we could do the following to help the hedgehog:


  • Cut a 5” hole in your garden fence at ground level so they can access your garden to forage
  • Don’t use slug pellets - if the hedgehog eats a slug that has been in contact with the pellets it will get poorly too.
  • Have a messy corner in your garden with piles of sticks and leaves, hedgehogs like this sort of environment, they can rest and have a sleep in safety under piles of sticks.
  • Be careful when turning over compost with a garden fork, you could stab one by mistake.
  • Put food and water down for them – use a box with a 5” hole so that neighbours cats and other pets can’t eat it.  They like to eat cat/dog food (chicken or turkey with jelly)
  • Move chicken wire or barbed wire away from the ground, hedgehogs could get tangled as they have 700 spines.
  • If you see a hedgehog outside from November – March then offer it some food, they should be hibernating during this time so you could save its life.
  • Check long grass before strimming and check bonfires before lighting, this would be a perfect home for a hedgehog.

We made some hedgehog boxes from recycled wood that we are going to donate to Blyth Wildlife Rescue.  They care for poorly hedgehogs and release them back into the wild when they are healthy enough.  Our boxes will allow them to care for more.

Blyth Wildlife Rescue also came to talk to us about their work and brought an owl for us to meet!