Two Dorset schools have received funding for work to improve their ponds and outdoor areas.

Wessex Water has awarded Marshwood CE Primary School £500 and Stoborough CE Primary School £450 for planned improvements.

Marshwood PTA member Zanna Hoskins said the money would be put towards two outdoor projects, the expansion of the school’s pond and the clearing of its bottom field to make space for a wild flower area.

She said: “The children are actively involved in both projects and both the wild flower garden and the pond area will have laminated information boards. The wild flower area will note the trees, birds, insects and butterflies, while the pond board will illustrate pond life.”

Wessex Water’s Education Advisor, Meghan Upton, praised Marshwood’s plans: “These are two great outdoor projects which will complement each other and improve the wildlife habitat for insects, butterflies and bees. Learning can be so much more fun when it comes with a fishing net and a jam jar.”

Stoborough school has in the past received considerable recognition for its environmental work.

The school’s headteacher, Deborah Corbin, said “Our school sits in the middle of a site of special scientific interest so we are very aware of the natural environment and we bring it into the school’s teaching whenever possible.”

She explained that the school’s pond is currently unusable, with its fencing needing to be replaced and a new pond lining and dipping platform installed.

She said: “We have an active eco club run by parents on a weekly basis and they are very supportive of restoring the pond.

“Now that we have this Watermark Award we can make a start on rebuilding.”

She added: “We are delighted with our Watermark Award which will help our pupils benefit from the practical, hands-on experience of pond dipping in a safe and natural environment.”

Ms Upton said in response to the Stoborough award: “These ponds are a great natural resource for schools to have. It enables children of all ages to experience at first hand the specific fauna and flora that exist only in and around the edges of water.”

In the 25 years since the Watermark Award was established, it has provided funds for almost 1000 environmental projects within the Wessex Water area.

To celebrate its anniversary, a special Watermark Award has been created to fund the installation of water bottle refill points to reduce plastic waste.