Students officially open the Cotswold Wildlife Park’s Halloween pumpkin patch

Pumpkins grown by students from a local charity delivered a crop they had grown themselves to officially open the 2021 Cotswold Wildlife Park Pumpkin Patch.

Jubilee Gardens supports adults with learning difficulties with students from Swindon and surrounding districts.

Director Bruce Porter explained that they focused on horticulture which teaches everyday skills like literacy, numeracy, color recognition and the concept of time.

Students learn all aspects of growing, caring for plants and, of course, the dreaded weeding.

They make hanging baskets and containers which they sell to the public and use the vegetables they grow in their midday meals.

Bruce said: “The students cared for the pumpkins and guided them through the growing process.

“They were so excited to see all the visitors looking at the pumpkins they grew. It was a totally wonderful experience for them to see the fruits of their labor being enjoyed by members of the general public and gratifying for them to know that their efforts to grow these pumpkin seeds, to very large pumpkins in some cases, have been so widely appreciated by all these people.

Student James officially cut the ribbon to open the Pumpkin Patch, where their pumpkins were decorated by the park‘s gardening, restaurant, grounds and sanitation teams as butterflies, lions and even jellyfish.

The students then joined senior mammal keeper Jenni Maxwell in giving the tapirs and capybaras a special Halloween pumpkin treat.

Debbie Ryan from the Cotswold Wildlife Park said: ‘We know Jubilee Gardens have been through an incredibly difficult time during the lockdown and we are very keen to continue working with them and we will be asking them to grow pumpkins specifically for us year round next and hopefully for years to come. ”

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