A POPULAR educational nature facility in North Yorkshire has reopened for the first time following its closure due to the Covid pandemic.

Renewable energy giant Drax reopened its Skylark Centre and Nature Reserve for the first time in more than 18 months to pupils from Camblesforth Primary School.

The Key Stage One students learnt all about wildlife in a minibeasts-themed activity day at the nature reserve which is near Drax Power Station, the UK’s biggest renewable power generator.

The students took part in pond dipping, created a bug hotel and hunted for insects and other ‘minibeasts’ in the woods before finishing off the day by toasting marshmallows on a fire.

For some of these year one and two primary pupils, it was the first school outing they have had the opportunity to go on due to long periods of learning from home during the pandemic.

Gywneth Beaumont, one of the teachers, said: “Our pupils had a great time at the Skylark centre. The sessions were well planned and resourced, and the children had a lot of fun while also learning so much in just one day.

"They especially loved having marshmallows round the fire at the end. The staff were amazing and looked after not only the children but the adults as well. We will definitely be returning.”

Drax Group head of sustainable business Alan Knight added: “We work closely with schools in our communities to inspire children to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. Getting out of the classroom to explore nature is an important part of that. We hope that experiences like these will spark an interest in learning about the natural world around us.”

The Skylark Centre has upgraded its resources to ensure activities support the curriculum with a focus on science and geography.

The centre has achieved national recognition for its educational visits and has been awarded a Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge, endorsed by the Department for Education.

Schools planning a visit to the nature reserve can choose from educational activities centred around plants or insects or a combination of the two, with all the learning materials able to be adapted to suit any primary school age group. The group can then choose an ‘outdoor adventure activity’ to add onto the end of their visit such as den building, orienteering and team building games.