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Preston Park Art Exhibit Shines Spotlight on Tees Oyster Population

Preston Park Art Exhibit Shines Spotlight on Tees Oyster Population

A new art installation, created by pupils from Yarm Prep School has gone on display at Preston Park Museum, to raise awareness of the Tees Rivers Trust Oyster project to save the declining oyster population in the River Tees.

Following interactive learning sessions with the Tees Rivers Trust, students decided on an oyster-themed project as part of the school’s annual STEAM week, which focuses on science, technology, engineering, art, and maths.

Tees Rivers Trust is committed to improving and conserving the River Tees and its habitats and has been working hard to increase the larvae population and settlement areas for native oysters in the river, as their populations have dropped to 5% of their historical range over the last 100 years.

During the school’s STEAM week, children from Nursery to Year 6 worked hard in the art department, using mod roc and ceramic materials to make an oyster reef which is now on display at Preston Park Museum.

Pupils from the school were so inspired by the Tees Rivers Trust oyster project, they decided to donate funds that they raised on a non-uniform day to the organisation.

Rachel Shepherd, art lead at Yarm Prep School said: “I think this project highlights the power of art to inspire and educate. The children have learned about the local conservation effort and worked together to raise awareness for a project which will benefit the health of the river Tees for years to come.”

Ben Lamb, CEO at the Tees Rivers Trust said: “It’s been great to have the opportunity to interact with the pupils at Yarm Prep School and teach them about the important projects we have ongoing at the Tees Rivers Trust.

“We are very grateful for the money that the children have raised, which will be used to help repopulate the river with native oysters.

“We’re hoping that the art installation will raise awareness of the declining oyster population but also highlight how important their existence is to the health of the river.”

Jessica Jenyns, visiting artist at Yarm Prep School said: “The pupils have thoroughly enjoyed making the oyster reef and it’s great to see the project being displayed in Preston Park Museum.”

Reuben Kench, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s director of community services, environment and culture, said: “We’re delighted to showcase the impressive oyster sculpture at Preston Park Museum, which the pupils at Yarm Prep School have clearly worked hard to create. We’re keen to support awareness of the important River Tees environmental project, which this model highlights. Visitors to the museum can see the work in our Green Gallery, from where they can also see the meandering River Tees flowing through a mixed habitat of woods and fields.

“We would encourage visitors to come along and see this detailed sculpture in person, especially during the upcoming school holidays. The museum is packed with fascinating rare and unique objects that tell important stories about our people and our history. Preston Park is always a great day out with lots to see and do. While they are there, visitors can explore the rest of the museum and Victorian Street – with a full Easter family activities programme, an Easter weekend farmyard event, the reopened walled garden and the new Great British Comic exhibition.”

Prep School Open Morning For families with children aged 3-11 years. Join us 9am - 12noon on Saturday 11th May to explore the fantastic opportunities at Yarm!

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