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TV Zoologist and Cbeebies presenter Jess French shared her love of nature with children at Wensum Junior School at the launch of the Briar Chemicals Poetry competition.

This year’s poetry competition theme, organised by Briar Chemicals, is Exploring Nature and Miss French is the final stage judge.

Pupils’ minds were buzzing with poetic ideas after the wildlife expert inspired them with butterflies, stick insects and host of other creepy crawlies. They were shown nature specimens and treated to a fascinating presentation featuring a range of natural wonders, from Iguazu Falls in Brazil, to Ayers Rock in Australia.

One pupil at Wensum Junior said:

I thought nature was boring before today – it’s actually really cool.

Briar Chemicals exploring nature with the pupils at Wensum Junior School at poetry competition launch
Exploring nature with the pupils at Wensum Junior School

Miss French, who has worked in veterinary practices in Africa, South America and Asia, hopes to encourage an interest in nature and the environment through the creativity of poetry. Miss French said:

All of these faraway 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.

The Young Poet of the Year competition, now in its 12th year, has two age categories; eight to nine year olds and 10 to 11 year olds.

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

Briar will also donate £500 to help support Miss French’s chosen charity, the Sumatran Orangutan Society. There will be additional prizes for the winners and runners-up who will receive a copy of her book, Chimp Rescue: The True Story of Chinoise.

Pupils get hands on with nature at Briar Chemicals poetry competition launch
Pupils get hands on with nature at competition launch

Sarah Piercy, PR Coordinator at Briar and first round judge said: “Every year we invite children from local schools to participate in our poetry competition. We use different themes to inspire creativity and to help the young poets learn something new.”

We hope to encourage them to use their imagination and think creatively about what science, nature and the environment means to them and everyone else around us. I am really looking forward to reading this year’s poems.

First stage judges this year are Prof Anne Osbourn from the John Innes Centre and founder of the SAW Trust (Science, Art and Writing), Tom Blofeld, author and creator of BeWILDerwood family adventure park, Simon Proctor from the EDP, and Sarah Piercy from Briar Chemicals.

The competition was first launched in 2005 to encourage youngsters to enjoy writing creatively, and with the support of the local schools, hundreds of entries are received each year.

The closing date for the entries is 15th July 2016, with the winners announced around National Poetry Day in October.

For more information about the poetry competition, please download the entry form below or email poetry.competition@briarchemicals.com

Download entry form here Competition Entry Form