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Recording the history of Hardwick Green Meadows

Posted: Friday 19th October 2018 by HardwickGreenMeadows

Taking a closer look at our oral history project…

With apologies for the delay in writing; we’ve been so busy getting our volunteers trained up and working with local schools that I’ve not had chance to update this blog.

We’ve now recruited and trained 12 volunteers to undertake research about the fascinating area around our new nature reserve of Hardwick Green Meadows. Four of these are helping specifically with recording the oral history of people in the local community. More to follow from our volunteers in our next Blog…

Part of the oral history project is engaging local schoolchildren at nearby Eldersfield Lawn CofE Primary School and Pendock CofE Primary School. At the end of the September pupils from both these schools left their classrooms behind and came to explore the meadows through a series of fun activities. We got them involved in a scavenger hunt, potion making, sweep netting, food webs and games such as apple relay and bug redlight/greenlight. We even got them thinking with their senses in a sensescape activity. We couldn’t quite believe the weather – who’d have thought we’d have beautiful blue skies and sunshine all day long as summer is giving way to autumn?! Altogether we had almost 80 children and we were joined by Julia Letts, who is delivering oral history training for both our volunteers and the children.

Since the day in the meadow, Julia has spent a day in the classroom with each school. The children are learning about what oral history involves and how to use the specialist recording equipment. They’re learning how to interview people, what can be learned from the process and who might make a suitable interviewee. The schools are arranging for local members of the community to go into the school for practice interviews and children are being encouraged to talk to parents and grandparents about their memories. This is all leading up to the children going on to interview key people in their communities to share their memories of what life was like growing up around Eldersfield and Pendock as well as what Hardwick Green Meadows were like.

As if this wasn’t exciting enough for both pupils and staff, the schools are going to engage a playwrite who will work with them to translate some of the memories into a play for the schools to perform. The children will be doing artwork around the subject as well as writing poems and looking at their own wildlife areas. The really great thing about this is that the two schools are collaborating and sharing their ideas and resources as well as involving the communities around them.

There is plenty more to come from this aspect of the project as well as the wider work we’re doing. Watch this space!

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