TV zoologist launches schools poetry competition

Cbeebies star, TV zoologist Jess French and Wensum Junior School pupils launch the nature themed EDP

Cbeebies star, TV zoologist Jess French and Wensum Junior School pupils launch the nature themed EDP and Briar Chemicals Young Poets of the Year competition 2016.compeition.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Pupils' minds have been buzzing with poetic ideas after a wildlife expert inspired them with butterflies, stick insects and host of other creepy crawlies.

Zoologist and Cbeebies presenter Jess French shared her love of nature with children at Wensum Junior School, in Norwich, at the launch of the EDP and Briar Chemicals Young Poets of the Year competition.

This year's theme is Exploring Nature and Miss French is the final stage judge.

The pupils were shown nature specimens and treated to a fascinating presentation featuring a range of natural wonders, from a waterfall in Brazil to Antarctic glaciers.

One youngster said: 'I thought nature was boring before today – it's actually really cool.'

You may also want to watch:

Miss French said: 'All of these far away places have awesome wildlife, but in Norfolk we have some amazing insects too.

'If people don't know about something, they don't care, and if they don't care, they won't protect it – that's why it's important to get children excited about nature.'

Most Read

The poetry competition has two age categories, eight and nine-year-olds and 10 and 11-year-olds. Entries should be submitted via schools – and schools in the EDP circulation area are being sent entry forms.

The winner of each age category will receive £100 and each of their schools will receive £500, courtesy of Briar.

Briar will also donate £500 to help support Miss French's chosen charity, the Sumatran Orangutan Society.

The winners and runners-up will also receive copies of her book, Chimp Rescue: The True Story of Chinoise. The winners will also have the chance to spend a morning at the EDP.

The competition is now in its 12th year, and Tim Green, site manager at Briar Chemicals, said: 'The poems we get are brilliant – far better then I could ever write – they really are very good.'

The first stage of judging will be carried out by Simon Proctor, from the EDP, Prof Anne Osbourn, from the John Innes Centre and founder of SAW Trust (Science, Art and Writing), Sarah Piercy, from Briar Chemicals, and Tom Blofeld, author and creator of BeWILDerwood family adventure park.

The closing date for the competition is July, 15, 2016.

Do you have a schools story? Email education correspondent Martin George at

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter