Caroline Gellor, the centre’s education manager, had fished out for temporary display a selection of specimens from the four pounds at the centre’s nature reserve in Byng Road.
Children looked on in amazement – and some squealed on seeing the wriggling black leech – but their enthusiasm was reward in itself for a year’s hard work by volunteers creating the centre’s garden, maintaining the reserve, and replenishing the pondlife.
Such is the popularity of the centre with local schools, that it is now fully booked for the rest of the summer term.
Ms Gellor spends three days a week taking school parties round the reserve, and so far, this year, she has welcomed over 1,400 children from schools all over the Borough of Barnet.
On display inside the centre is a video showing the wildlife within the reserve, including a family of muntjac deer and a fox and her cubs.
Dick Elms, vice chair and trustee, was delighted with the size of the turnout (14.5.2016) for the centre’s first spring event, after its completion last year.
“Our volunteers are an expanding group and they are so proud of the progress we have made. Our school visits are fully booked and we are now in a position to expand the number of events open to the public.”
Mr Elms paid tribute to the Hadley Trust and the John Lyon’s Charity whose grants enabled the centre to hire an environmental education manager. He also thanked Barnet Council for a £10,000 grant that had paid for the cost of laying out the garden and providing fencing for the ponds.
Work is due to start in September on the construction next door of the hospice for the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice.
“We are looking forward to sharing the nature reserve with children from the hospice.
We think the reserve will be a wonderful facility for the hospice and together we can create a really special place,” said Mr Elms