Some 10 years ago, Tarvin Community Woodland Trust set up an award in honour of Jim Grogan, our late founder. It was to be known as the Jim Grogan Countryside & Wildlife Award and would be presented annually to the pupil of Tarvin School who is considered to have the greatest breadth of knowledge and the best understanding of the animals and plants that make up the immediate environment of Tarvin School and Tarvin Village. Each year the award would be accompanied by a commemorative trophy, a certificate and a book token provided by the Trust. It has usually been presented at the end of July, when the school year ends.
2020 has been a strange years in many ways, one of which was that schools were not operating normally in July! However, Andrew Davies, Tarvin's Head Teacher, was determined that there would not be a gap in the list of awards presented and so the school has selected a recipient for this year – Isabelle Bridson, Isabelle received her award for 2020 at a (socially distant) assembly of the whole school on Thursday 17th December.
A glance at the school's citation for Isabelle's makes it easy to see why the teachers declared her to be this year's recipient. Finding herself with much time on her hands during the pandemic, she has become progressively more curious about living things and has been able to develop this interest by building butterfly and insect feeders, setting up a bug house in her garden, helping her dad to look after the garden (tending tubs and baskets, growing tomatoes, strawberries and vegetables) and researching the creatures that she came across. The gift of a "Nature Watch" book (accompanied by a most useful pair of binoculars) enabled her to mark off the living creatures with which she came into contact during her walks and she has "... gone from being scared of most insects to being inquisitive and respectful." Being able to share her knowledge of dragonflies, butterflies, beetles and bees, as well as worms, birds and squirrels, is something that she has enjoyed greatly.
The citation continues: "Isabelle became more interested in how we can help save and preserve wildlife and, when out on walks, became concerned at the amount of litter left in the woodland and local area. She designed a 'recycle' poster to promote re-using rubbish and keeping local areas tidy. She even asked the school if they would support her in a litter pick."
The poster earned Isabelle her green 'eco' Blue Peter Badge – one of three Blue Peter Badges she earned over the summer. This was such a remarkable achievement that Tarvin Primary School gave her a Special Achievement Award in recognition of its significance.
Jim Grogan grew up in Tarvin, at a time when it was still a truly rural village. He loved and cared about the whole of our natural environment and was passionate about sharing this enthusiasm with others – especially with children. The Countryside & Wildlife Award scheme is a means whereby the interest and enthusiasm of young people for their natural surroundings can be encouraged and fostered and is a scheme which we intend to continue to run annually. It gives the woodland Trustees great pleasure to congratulate Isabelle for being given this award for the year 2020.