A GROUP of children at Westgate primary school in Otley recently started a project aimed at bringing nature back into the urban places where we live.

A national scheme spearheaded by a new BBC film has been launched based around a picture book called ‘The Promise’.

The story, by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin, follows a troubled city girl who makes a promise to plant a bag full of acorns and her world is transformed into a powerful vision of hope.

Families, schools, and communities will be supported to find new connections with the natural world and to find ways to create a greener future for themselves and particularly for children and young people.

The scheme brings together a wealth of organisations promoting nature and healthy food, tree planting and rewilding initiatives.

Neil Griffin, Education Officer at Wildlife Friendly Otley, a local community group supporting the school with this project, said: “Westgate school are doing a brilliant job helping their children to learn about wildlife and to simply enjoy it too. This project fits perfectly with Wildlife Friendly Otley’s aim to protect and encourage wildlife, whilst increasing people’s engagement with it. We have developed relationships with all of Otley’s primary schools, and we’re really pleased to support Westgate’s work around The Promise.”

Pupils from Westgate first watched an exclusive schools-only screening of the BBC adaptation of The Promise, and this inspired their writing, drawing, and of course planting.

Headteacher Helen Carpenter said: “The whole school enjoyed the screening of The Promise and how it made them think about the wildlife in the world around them. Year 4 have already collected seeds for planting and more is planned across school. The Promise contains an important message for children and adults alike about the importance of looking after the natural world”.

For further information for schools or to get involved, go to https://www.thepromise.earth/

Advice and information about helping wildlife or getting involved is available from Wildlife Friendly Otley at www.wildlifefriendlyotley.org.uk/mywildlifepledge. Families are also encouraged to participate in the pledge for wildlife scheme.