Pupils excel in schools’ Wildlife Crime Project

TWO LOCAL pupils feature in the prize list in the latest stage of Tayside Police’s Schools Wildlife Crime Project.

The children were asked to demonstrate their artistic prowess by creating a drawing of an animal, bird, insect or plant that can be found in the wild in Scotland.

Rory Watson, a primary seven pupil at Arbirlot School, was placed fourth equal in the Angus Schools section, and Elizabeth Donaldson and Hannah Cain, both primary five pupils at Eastern Primary School, Broughty Ferry, took third and fourth places respectively in the Dundee schools category.

All 1,500 participating pupils have already compiled an autumn nature diary and a short story in which they play the part of a police wildlife crime officer. The artwork was the third stage of the project.

Alan Stewart, Tayside Police wildlife and environmental crime officer, who marked the drawings, said: “The standard of drawings was very high and every year we see outstanding works of art, some of which would do a professional wildlife artist proud.

“Top marks this year must really go to Isla Primary School, where the whole class submitted drawings that were superb. Funds do limit the numbers of prizes that can be awarded and I am always sorry that there can’t be more winners as this would make my job of judging much easier.”

The final stage of the project will test parents and other adults at home, as well as the pupils. It is a wildlife crime quiz that must be completed outwith school, using as much help from the grown ups as pupils can muster.

Most of the answers featured in an hour-long PAW Scotland-sponsored DVD that the pupils have already viewed, with the result that it might be the children who are educating the adults!

At the project’s completion, individual prizes will be presented to winning pupils at a ceremony at Battleby, Perth, on May 5.

This year special shopping spree prizes, totalling £500, have been sponsored by Dobbies Garden World, Perth and Dundee, as part of their ‘Here we Grow’ community project.

The prizes - one each for Perth & Kinross, Angus and Dundee - will be awarded to the schools with either the best nature diaries, or the best wildlife drawings, and are aimed at encouraging wildlife friendly gardening within the schools. The venue is again kindly sponsored by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Winning drawings can be viewed on the Wildlife Crime Page of the Tayside Police website.