Sheep shearing Doncaster students

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Students from the DeWarenne Academy in Doncaster are helping wildlife conservation organisation, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, look after the sheep that graze the grass around their school.

Whilst for many of us our favourite part of going to school was Friday afternoon, with the promise of a weekend ahead, it is different for the students at the DeWarenne Academy who are getting stuck in looking after the livestock that graze their school fields.

The sheep ended up there after the school teamed up with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, to take part in a local conservation project known as ‘Loving Your Local Limestone’.

his SITA Trust-funded project promotes grazing at well-defined levels to encourage the establishment of rich wildflower meadows, which are well suited to the magnesian-limestone conditions that lie under the grass.

Residents were also given the opportunity to learn more about the project and its aims at a workshop run by the Trust at the school earlier in March. The event covered what it meant to be a ‘lookerer’ (the technical term for those who check that sheep are healthy and in good condition) and all about conservation grazing and the threat magnesian-limestone grasslands face. The day was finished off with a demonstration of wool spinning.

Carys Hutton, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Project Officer, said about the school: “DeWarenne Academy’s involvement with the ‘Loving Your Local Limestone’ is fantastic on many levels. Not only are they helping to restore rare magnesian-limestone grasslands, but getting the students involved means that they are also taking ownership and learning the importance of the superb natural habitats right on their doorstep.”

Andy Hay, a teacher at DeWarenne Academy, said: “The kids absolutely love looking after the sheep. It’s a brilliant way to engage them with conservation issues: so much better than learning from a book in the classroom!”

To find out more about the project or how to become involved as a ‘lookerer’ visit Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s website: or call 01904 659570.