Children enjoy environmental health fair at St Teresa's Church in Borehamwood

Borehamwood Times: Mayor of Hertsmere Paul Morris wears a tarantula toupee Mayor of Hertsmere Paul Morris wears a tarantula toupee

Children tickled tarantulas, stroked snakes and got up close and personal with a dead squirrel at an environmental health fair.

The annual event, organised by Hertsmere Borough Council, saw more than 600 children from primary schools across Borehamwood descend on St Teresa’s Church Hall in Shenley Road today.

Pupils visited throughout the day to learn about noise and air pollution, food safety, healthy eating, pest and dog control, recycling and health and safety from Hertsmere Council officers and Hertsmere Leisure.

Firefighters from Borehamwood Fire Station were on hand to tell children about the importance of having a working smoke alarm and representatives from Affinity Water told them about saving water.

The hall was filled with laughter and excited chatter as pupils filed round the different stalls and examined the exhibits and activities on offer.

Children screamed as loudly as they could in a special booth which measured the noise in decibels, they played hook a duck to learn about common environmental health hazards from crossing roads to dog waste, and made Christmas decorations.

They screamed in horror and delight as they examined rats in jars and prodded a stuffed pigeon at a stall run by the council's pest control department.

The popular favourite was the Jurassic Ark stall, where children held tarantulas, stroked an iguana and had a variety of snakes draped around their shoulders, before being taught how to wash their hands properly.

Mayor of Hertsmere Paul Morris, who had a tarantula placed on his head, said: “This event is great for the kids as they learn all about environmental health in a fun way.

“Normally if you tell children about health and safety they will forget, but making it fun means the message sticks in their heads.”

Marcella Hoti and Nabrissa Badu from Cowley Hill Primary School said they found the event “very interesting”.

They added: “It’s good to have the chance to learn more about nature and how things work. It’s strange to think the animals like the rat in a jar were alive. We particularly enjoyed screaming as loudly as we could to learn about noise.”

Jibril Shogunle, also from Cowley Hill, had a snake draped round his neck.

He said: “The snake felt cold and muscular, I wasn’t scared at all. I’m having a lot of fun, there’s so much to do.”

Moira McCarthy, who teaches at Cowley Hill, was very impressed by the fair and the activities on offer.

She said: “It’s really interesting for the children and lots of fun. It’s very hands on with plenty for them to see and do while still being educational.

"We’re going to do work in class about what they’ve found out here so they remember the message.”

Assistant headteacher at Saffron Green Primary School Elaine Ellaman said the fair had been “fantastic” for the children.

She added: “You only have to look at the wonder on their faces as they go round to see how much they are enjoying themselves.

“It’s really good for the community as well as they get to meet children from other schools and make friends.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to the organisers for making it so special for the children.”

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