Valence School, Kent, beat schools across Britain to win the chance of naming a Cuckoo fitted with a satellite tag by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). They will now be able to follow ‘Larry’, the name for the Cuckoo chosen by the pupils, as he makes his way from Britain to spend the winter in the heart of the Congo rainforest.
England has lost almost three-quarters of its breeding Cuckoos during the last twenty-five years and the BTO is hoping to find out why. This is the fifth summer that scientists at the BTO have fitted state of the art satellite tags to British Cuckoos and it is hoped that Larry will help to provide information on the routes that Cuckoos from the northwest take to Congo.
The competition was run by EDF Energy’s award-winning education programme, the Pod, which recently launched a new partnership with the BTO to help encourage more young people to study science and sustainability.
Dr Chris Hewson, lead scientist on the project, said, “During the last four years we have learned a lot about our Cuckoos when they leave the UK. However, we are just beginning to understand that where they live and the routes they take to get to Africa might make all the difference to their future survival. So, Larry could provide us with vital information in this respect.”
He added, “It is great to have the children of Valence School engaged with the project – after all, it could be theirs and their children’s Cuckoos that Larry is helping to save.”
Robyn Thorn, EDF Energy’s Education Programme Manager, said, “We want more schools like Valence School to sign up to the Pod and help us to inspire the next generation of scientists. It’s critical that we encourage more young people to study science and sustainability if we are to tackle climate change – something that’s key to EDF Energy’s mission.”
Larry is currently on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in southern Chad, resting and fattening up for the next leg of his long journey south.
Anyone can follow Larry at www.bto.org/cuckoos and even better sponsor him for £10.00 and help him help his species. Each satellite tag costs £2,500 and then a further £60.00 per month, per Cuckoo for the satellite time.
The BTO and EDF Energy are calling on schools across Kent to take part in a ground-breaking citizen science experiment to map what is under their feet; helping us understand how climate change is impacting food availability for birds. To take part in the BTO and EDF Energy’s new citizen science activity ‘What’s under your feet?’, please visit www.jointhepod.org.
To download information about the Cuckoos, the importance of migration and complete lesson plans for What’s Under your Feet? Please visit the POD at www.jointhepod.org
Notes for Editors
- About the Pod:
Launched in September 2008, the Pod is EDF Energy’s award-winning programme for schools. It was originally developed to help EDF Energy meet its Sustainability Commitment of engaging with 2.5 million children by 2012 in learning about the sustainable use of energy. The Pod now has over 19,700 schools and community groups registered (including over 170 schools overseas) and is estimated to have engaged in excess of 10 million schoolchildren. It aims to engage young people (aged 4 to 14) on energy, science and sustainability by providing free curriculum-linked activities and materials for teachers. The website, www.jointhepod.org, provides free lesson plans, activities, games, videos and information, all with cross curricular links. The content is currently aimed at key stages 1, 2 and 3. The ethos of the Pod is ‘learn, act, inspire’ – helping young people learn about an issue, take action on this, and inspire others with their achievements through blogs, photos and videos to showcase their work.
- The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.www.bto.org
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