RESERVE: No one imagined such a facility

Thank you to David Sedgwick for the article with photographs about the continued development of the nature reserve at Seaton Burn Community College (SBCC) (News Guardian, July 30).

The nature reserve was created in 1988 on former Coal Board land adjoining the college with the aid of a grant from the European Social Fund.

It was a bare site, the size of five football pitches, and showed signs of subsidence, which was giving way to naturally forming ponds.

Students, under the leadership of Mike Smith the community liaison officer at the college, marked out the land and worked hard to plant many hundreds of mostly deciduous trees.

I am proud to say I helped plant a few myself.

A growing project as big as this, the trees are now taller than the college buildings, depends upon the skills and interest of students and staff.

Many have taken their turn to do a little bit more each year, but I do not think any of us would have predicted what a superb facility was being created.

The recent efforts of the college team of staff and students, backed up by university students and volunteers from Groundwork, and money and staff from ISOS Housing, has taken the management and development of the reserve to another level and a bright future.

There is more work to do to make further improvements throughout the site and it offers a unique opportunity for staff of local businesses and industry to get involved and play their part in preparing students for the world of work.

The scope for using the reserve as an outdoor classroom throughout the curriculum is huge, not only for science and land-based subjects, but it is a great inspiration for art, photography, creative writing, poetry, and even just finding a bit of peace and quiet in a busy day.

The reserve will be open to the community when not in use by the college and adds to the nearby Weetslade Country Park, another asset reclaimed from the spoils of the mining industry in which college students played a part.

Coun Muriel Green,

Weetslade Ward