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The Jim Grogan Award 2023.

27th July 2023 @ 6:06am – by Charles Bradley
Back home  »  News  »  The Jim Grogan Award 2023.

This year's recipient is Olly Yates.

Following on from the untimely death of Jim Grogan (the founder of the woodland) in January, 2010, the woodland Trustees decided that a permanent means of remembering him was needed. As well as the memorial stone in the woodland, we thought that Jim's love of nature and the environment ought to be combined with his wish to introduce as many young people as possible to the countryside in which they live. Thus, the Jim Grogan "Countryside and Wildlife Award" was born. A beautiful, hand-made book was created by local artisan bookbinder, Andrew Brown, and this had 125 pages in it – one for each year of the lease that had been granted to the Trust for the land. In addition to receiving a certificate, a plaque and a book token, the recipient each year has their citation – which gives the reasons why the school has chosen that person to receive the award – typed onto that year's page in the book. The book then remains open at that page and on display all year in the beautiful, hand-made cabinet that the Grogan family presented to the school, in memory of Jim.

The recipient of the award is chosen each year by Mr Davies and the school staff. This year, the recipient is Olly Yates. A paraphrase of the citation reads:-

Olly is always thinking of environment and how to improve it, to keep it safe and beautiful for us to live in. He and mum hand-reared 4 blue tit chicks. Olly fed them and cleaned their home. His love of birds has developed and he is able to name all of the species of birds that visit his garden. He especially enjoys watching birds of prey. He regularly fills up bird feeders and then watches the birds (and the cheeky squirrels) as they come to feed. Olly also helped raise two baby squirrels and he enjoys now taking nuts to the park to feed them.

Recently, duck eggs were incubated and four of them hatched. He has enjoyed looking after the ducklings and showed them to his class, making a presentation on incubation and care of ducklings. He followed this in early July by joining Broxton Barn Owl Group for the day in order to watch them ring owlets. Olly is well-equipped with binoculars and magnifying glass when he goes out exploring. He enjoys seeking insects, marking them off on his list as he finds them. He has recently constructed both a bird box and a bug hotel for his garden.

Olly is keen to help Mum in the garden, planting flowers, vegetables and fruit trees and helping to water them regularly. Olly's Dad is a tree surgeon and, from him, he has been learning about how planting trees is good for the environment and nature. He loves playing with the helicopters from the sycamore tree and instructs his friends. He is always concerned about litter and its impact on the environment and nature, particularly in the seas. He is keen to help pick up litter, either with his family or alone, advising everyone that he meets, "It's not good for the environment." Olly notices the environment and why we must look after it – for all who live in it, both ourselves and wildlife. He understands the need for recycling and is learning about which items can and cannot be recycled – and why.

His teacher said, "Olly's attitude towards and love for the environment and nature is wonderful to see, as is his understanding of why we need to look after it."

For these reasons, the school considers him to be a worthy recipient of this year's Countryside & Wildlife Award.

Ed: Click on the photographs to enlarge them.

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