Pupils will be flocking to Glendale to sample rural life
Some 1,650 children from 42 schools are set to attend the annual Children’s Countryside Day, near Wooler.
The event, organised by the Glendale Agricultural Society (GAS), encourages children to learn about the importance of farming, the natural environment and the countryside.
Rachael Tait, GAS secretary, said: “The Children’s Countryside Day encompasses the countryside and country life at all levels with the aim of inspiring, engaging and teaching our children exactly where our food comes from.”
Surveys have found that too many children knew nothing about where food came from. To rectify this, GAS, local rural businesses and dozens of volunteers set up what is in effect a farm-sized mobile classroom, with tents and pens to house a variety of rural learning environments, with farm animals, exhibitions and equipment.
More than 60 businesses will be exhibiting. First timers include Watson Seeds, Hay Farm Heavy Horses, Tweed Foundation, Fiona Burn Donkeys, and Cheviot Trees.
The 15th staging of the event, on Thursday, June 6, has a theme of The Year of Green Action, chosen by Northumberland National Park.
With climate change topical, it was felt this theme would suit well and will focus on teaching children how they can each help to improve their local environment.
Harry Frew, managing director of Cheviot Trees, said: “It is very important for youngsters to see what happens in the countryside and how it works. They need to see what life is like in your countryside.
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“We are a local, rural, land-based company and we are really pleased to be able to be part of the educating children experience in this rural situation.
“If we can cultivate their interest in their early years, hopefully this will then lead to them looking for a career and a working life in the countryside. Jobs are scarce in rural areas, and they do not get very many opportunities to see what is out there, so the day provides this valuable opportunity.”
Alan Best, area sales manager for Watson Seeds, added: “We attend the Border Union Show in Kelso each year, and for us, we felt this event was just as important to attend. An educational event such as this speaks to a large number of children who do not have very much knowledge about agriculture.
“We will be dealing primarily with grass seeds. Children often don’t know how necessary grass is for the meat on our tables, the milk in our cereals and for farmers feeding their livestock during the winter months. We will be displaying a big pile of grass to show how much grass cows and sheep eat - a cow can consume over 90 kilos of grass each day, with even more for sheep and horses.”
The event is self-funded through both sponsorship and donations, so for each school there is absolutely no cost.
Sponsors and supporters include: Etal Manor; Luing Cattle Society; Lanton Estate; Glendale Gateway Trust; Lowick Hall Estates; Northumberland National Park; Lilburn Estates Farming Partnership; The Godman Charitable Company; Penmar Farming Ltd; The Joicey Trust; Aviva; Carr-Ellison Charitable Trust; Northumberland County Council; Lord and Lady Vinson; Mr and Mrs Davidson; Savills; The Essential Food Company; Frontier Agriculture Ltd; and YoungsRPS.