Extended Schools Day at EcoPark
The Birmingham EcoPark is the Wildlife Trust’s education centre in Small Heath, East Birmingham. Each year thousands of young people take part in its wide and varied activities, in exciting surroundings with a wide range of habitats and demonstrations of sustainability. It is also the base for PAWS (People and Wildlife Services) our practical conservation subsidiary.
The EcoPark offers national curriculum linked environmental education activities to schools across Birmingham and the Black Country. Our environmental education experts can offer sessions from a few hours to a whole day of exciting activities for school classes particularly key stages 1&2. We also offer teacher training in various aspects of environmental education and a comprehensive range of Forest Schools activities. Examples of activities at the EcoPark include:
- Growing trees and vegetables.
- Understanding nature
- Pond dipping
- Minibeast hunts
- Naturally themed arts and crafts
If your school is interested in visiting the EcoPark, please get in touch. As well as our wide range of standard activities, our skilled staff will be happy to discuss putting together a custom package to suit your needs. We an also arrange activities at your school or a nearby wildlife site. We also offer services for the creation of school nature areas, willow sculptures, greenwood shelters see the practical projects section for more details.
We are a Learning Outside the Classroom accredited site.
The EcoPark has many different and exciting demonstration features. There is wind and solar powered energy generation, including a Rutland wind turbine. There is a demonstration wildlife garden, on the scale of a typical suburban garden - complete with a wonderful fig tree that produces a huge harvest of figs each summer. There are reed beds which are used for ecological water treatment.
There are also banks of compost bins, a tree nursery, the famous 'telepole wall' and there are always a variety of new and different activities depending on what our young visitors have been up to in recent weeks.
The EcoPark has a fantastic pond, created in 1997, which supports a tremendous range of wildlife, including frogs, toads and newts and even sticklebacks! The pond collects rainwater from the rest of the site, and excess water can be pumped to storage at the top of the site for watering plants or filling smaller ponds. The pumps are powered by electricity from the wind and solar generators. The pond is used by schools for pond dipping - there is a large platform just above water level to allow this and similar activities to be conducted in safety.
There is a remarkable young woodland, planted on intertwining mounds of soil that were excavated when the ponds were dug. Between the mounds a path winds back and forth, creating the impression of a long walk through mature woodland, despite fitting into a surprisingly small space! The ups and downs of the mounds also create a much wider range of micro-habitats than are found in most planted woodlands, so this is a really good little wood for wildlife.
The EcoPark also has areas of grassland, scrub and even an orchard (yes you CAN pick yourself an apple if you visit in the autumn!) and there are some really wonderful big, old trees all around the site's boundaries.
Growing Local Flora
The EcoPark is also the base for Growing Local Flora, a project that collects wildflower seed from around Birmingham and the Black Country. The seeds are grown on to provide wildflower plants for conservation projects to enhance local woodlands and grasslands. Growing Local Flora is partly supported by the Birmingham and Black Country Nature Improvement Area.
People and Wildlife Services
People and Wildlife Services (PAWS) is part of the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country and is based at the EcoPark. PAWS supports local conservation, and helps develop environmental education spaces within school grounds or community areas. PAWS staff members commonly deliver outdoor education to a range of different audiences from within schools and communities.
The site of the EcoPark was originally tennis courts! It later became allotment gardens and then was occupied by Ashram Acres, an organic vegetable growing project. The Wildlife Trust's original aim was to develop the site as an organic plant nursery with demonstrations of sustainability. It became clear that there was a much greater need for a local resource for environmental and sustainability education in the area. EcoPark was opened by urban wildlife expert and TV wildlife gardener Chris Baines in 1997.
Visit the EcoPark
The EcoPark is also able to cater for visits by groups and individuals, but as we are not open at all times, please book in advance. Please note that for education, training and structured group activities, there will be a charge. For further information or to book educational or group visits please contact firstname.lastname@example.org call 0121 454 1199.
Directions to the EcoPark
258a Hob Moor Road
EcoPark is tucked in to the left of Starbank School annex on Hob Moor Road, behind a row of shops.
By Public Transport
There are regular buses (15 & 17) between Hob Moor Road and the City Centre. Ask for the Starbank Road stop on the Hob Moor Road, which is a short way past the entrance to EcoPark.
From elsewhere in the Midlands there are excellent rail & coach links to Birmingham City Centre.
By Car or Bicycle
EcoPark is on the east side of Birmingham City in an area called Small Heath. Coming from the inner ring road take the A45 and following signs to Heybarnes Circus roundabout, look for ASDA. If you are travelling from further away, take the M42 and leave at Junction 6 (Birmingham Airport junction), then follow the A45 into the City to Heybarnes Circus roundabout then follow Heybarnes Road north to the roundabout on Hob Moor Road, where you turn left.