A lot has happened since the insects last blogged: 3 sessions with Gatton Primary, Christmas, New Year and most all of January! High time we caught you up.

The last 3 sessions with the school where filled with habitat creation. Each week we looked back at the 15 minute “mini-hotels” during the first 4 sessions and were delighted to find lots of tenants. Wood lice, worms, centipedes and millipedes had moved in to the nooks and crannies.

On Tuesday January 20th, we convened a celebration with 7 student reps and 2 VIPs… our local Councillor from Wandsworth Council, Candida Jones and Chris Young from RHS Campaign for School Gardening. TTT contributors to the project also came along, as did teachers from Gatton School. We’re delighted you could all come, thank you for sparing the time.

The Insect Hotel is named! The 7 Student Reps with Rifat Batool, Headteacher and Chris Young, RHS  Regional Campaign for School Gardening Advisor, London.

Read on to read the words of the Student Reps, what was their experience?

After a brief welcome, it was over to the students to tell us about the experience form their point of view before the official naming of… wait for it… “Bugs’R’Us” Insect Hotel! Here’s excerpts of what the 7 children said:

“The project that we have been working on (The Insect Hotel) has helped us develop a sense of responsibility as well as a variety of hands on skills like sawing, drilling, construction and of course our weekly search for the “bugs” that have taken shelter in our mini hotels.”

Of the mini-hotels, the children said…
“…it was always interesting to come back the next week to see what creatures were visiting and which “rooms” they preferred. Darker, gloomier and smaller seems to be the attraction.”

“We were amazed to discover the hidden crevices that bugs seem to enjoy visiting when we created our mini hotels, to get an idea of the habitats of different creatures in the garden.”

And of being in a natural environment – not an everyday experience in our urban setting…

“We were quite amazed with ourselves to know that we could actually hold a worm in our hands and not run for cover.”

And of the experience as a whole…
“We have learned the importance of being eco-friendly, recycling our waste and the amazing role that “bugs” play in our environment.”

“Overall, we had a wonderful and memorable experience and hope we come back here to contribute towards another project very soon.”

Over the next weeks and months we’ll gently add habitat to the Hotel and label up the different niches we have created. We’re also starting a conversation about how to share learning about the project. Should you want to hear our experience in more detail – do email transitiontowntooting@gmail.com.

A big thank you to Naseem Aboobaker and all at Mushkil Aasaan, the local charity who own the site and continue to encourage us to garden and teach at Tooting Community Garden.

And thank you to Ms Syeda and Ms Shazia at Gatton School for leading the Eco-Schools project and checking permissions for photos for this blog week in week out!

And the teachers and teaching assistants from Gatton School, Mr.Amin, Ms.Fathima, Ms.Neelam for your engagement at the garden and parallel work in the classroom – the students were really well prepared!

And finally, a big THANK YOU to all the volunteers from Transition Town Tooting who contributed their time, energy and application to the project.