As part of the Heritage Fund development of Chatham Waterfront, our Animal Management and Applied Science students are working at the prestigious

Fort Amherst site on a fantastic new community nature trail project.

As part of their industry placement, students have been involved in researching native species of plants, wildlife and soil composition, clearance of overgrown shrubs to help open up the site for visitors, and construction of new habitats and a fantastic new herb garden.

Central to the project is research and site preparation for the restoration of the original Victorian military allotment area at the rear of the Fort. This is a long-term project to preserve historical aspects of the site, and open up the space as a growing area for local community groups. Our students enjoyed examining the soil, researching the different foods that soldiers based at the Fort would have been growing, and even putting their archaeological skills to the test – having dug up an unfamiliar tool, they’ve now identified it as a set of Sugar Nippers from the 1800s!

While their work at the Fort continues, the allotment site has been handed over to contractors to finalise the works. However, their research is now available to view in an exhibition at Chatham library running until 1 May 2019.

Jennifer Botelle, lecturer in Animal Management and the College’s lead on the waterfront project said:

“All of our students at the College undertake industry placements which provide a fantastic opportunity for them to put their learning and skills into practice on a live brief with a local employer. This is an important part of how we help our students to prepare for their careers and to be confident and productive when they progress into work.

Our partnership with Fort Amherst has provided a unique opportunity for students to work on a heritage site, and to undertake work that’s linked to their studies but also is of great benefit to our local community.

We anticipate that the allotments will be open to visitors later this year, and look forward to seeing the finished site. In the meantime, our students are really proud of the contribution that they’ve made – and we’re incredibly proud of them”. To research and apply for study programmes starting this September, click here.

If you’re a local business or community group that would like to offer an industry placement opportunity to our students, you can find out more here.