A LONG, arduous but rewarding project has finally finished at Park Junior School with the successful completion of an outstanding eco garden.

It was officially opened at the school in Stonehouse by local nature conservationist John Robinthwaite in the presence of the town mayor and dignitaries.

Eighteen months ago eco leader and teacher Kate Riglar asked the children how the school site could be improved for wildlife in the area.

It quickly became apparent that specialist knowledge was required as many ideas were forthcoming from both the pupils and staff.

Ellen Winter from Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust undertook a survey of the grounds with the school eco council.

Environmental architects Pater Quinn Associates were commissioned to turn the children’s sketches into formal plans.

Staff and governors made funding available and were committed to enhancing the grounds while encouraging a knowledge and appreciation of nature.

Kevin Hall, a parent to one pupil, arranged for a JCB and a dumper truck from JayBee and JPR Environmental to turn the plans into a living garden with no charge.

“It is a triumph for the children and local wildlife to have such a beautiful conservation area within our school grounds,” said Katy.

“I am so proud of the foresight, creativity and ecological awareness displayed by Park Junior children.”

It all started with a muddy-water filled hole, however thanks to the suggestions from the children and work from everyone involved the garden has now been transformed. Recycled materials were used around the ground including wine bottles collected by the school.

Pupil Robyn Kerry, 11, said: “The best bit is the large pond surrounded by the meadow plants.

“I love staring into the water to see what appears.”

Another pupil, Harvey Bowkett, 10 , said: “We all love the eco garden because we can study the animals in their natural habitat.

“It is great watching the ducks and frogs in the pond.”