HUNDREDS of school children across Tees Valley will be on the lookout for wildlife this week as The RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch kicks off.

The survey takes place during the first half of the Spring term, from January 2 to February 23, where children spend an hour of school time watching and counting the birds they spot before sending their results to the RSPB.

The RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch is one of the world’s biggest wildlife surveys. Since it first began in 2002, almost a million children have taken part.

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Last year across Tees Valley, Woodpigeons appeared to be the most common playground visitor with Carrion crows, house sparrows and robins featuring prominently in the results.

In a poll of teachers and children across the UK, it was revealed that 96% of teachers believed it was important for children to experience nature at school.

Emma Reed, RSPB Education, Families and Youth manager in Northern England said: “Sadly, children today are spending less time outside in nature, which means they are missing out on the positive impact it has on their physical health, emotional wellbeing and their education.

“The Birdwatch is the perfect chance for them to experience nature first hand, make exciting discoveries, and the results help provide our scientists with valuable information, so the children are helping to make a real difference for wildlife.”

Teachers can pick any day during the first half of the Spring term to take part in the free activity. More information about taking part can be found at rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch