Pupils fight against academy garden pests

S2 pupils Jacob Vavangas, Darren Bryce, Dougal MacIver and Lewis Milne in the Community Garden
S2 pupils Jacob Vavangas, Darren Bryce, Dougal MacIver and Lewis Milne in the Community Garden

Ellon Academy pupils are appealing for help to fight back against rabbits that are threatening to destroy their community garden.

The school’s young gardeners, the EAGer Bunch, have been working hard to create a thriving outdoor space since they moved to the new Cromleybank campus three years ago.

Rabbits have made their way inside one of the polytunnels

Rabbits have made their way inside one of the polytunnels

The community garden is home to a number of fruit trees, vegetable plots and even outdoor classrooms, enabling pupils to learn more about the growing process and they even grow their own fruit and vegetables to use in their classes.

Co-ordinator of the school garden project and additional support for learning teacher, Susan Swallow, first noticed the garden had unwanted visitors last summer.

Speaking to the Times she said: “I thought it was just one or two rabbits but I discovered a big hole between our two polytunnels so realised it was a bigger problem.”

It is believed the rabbits have started to build a warren in the steep bank to the back of the garden and are now digging their way past the rabbit-proof fence and into the site.

The rabbits have started to nibble on the fruit trees

The rabbits have started to nibble on the fruit trees

The rabbits have nibbled on the bark of the group’s prize fruit trees, and Susan has already taken steps to prevent them from making further damage.

She explained: “We would usually start sowing seeds in Spring but there is no point if the rabbits are just going to come in and eat them.

“Last year they ate a whole bed of curly kale which had an impact on the vegetable boxes that we put on sale to members of staff to raise money for the garden.”

The EAGer Bunch have set up an online fundraising page to help them purchase rabbit wire and weed barrier to cover the bank.

Money raised will also go towards replacing some of the damaged trees and enviro-mesh to protect vulnerable beds in future.

Susan added: “The pupils see that the rabbits are damaging things in the garden and they want me to get the work done as soon as possible, but it is proving to be more expensive than I had anticipated.”

To support the EAGer Bunch visit their online crowdfunding page to give a donation at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/team-cg-2019.

For the latest updates from the garden visit the group’s blog at eagerbunch.blogspot.com.