Miner2Major and Joseph Whitaker School unveil stunning owl sculpture crafted by pupils and local artist

Published 8th December 2023

The Miner2Major Landscape Partnership Scheme, a partner of Inspire Libraries, proudly unveiled its latest sculpture at The Joseph Whitaker School last week, a collaborated effort between various year groups at The Joseph Whitaker School in Rainworth, near Mansfield and local artist and sculptor Richard Janes.

The stunning 5-foot owl, intricately designed with open wings and a book etched with the school’s motto, has been installed outside the main gate at the educational site in Rainworth. Made from green oak, the sculpture pays homage to Nottinghamshire's native trees, grounding the artwork in the region's rich natural heritage. Pupils from the school sketched, designed, and carved parts of the wood themselves based on the diverse flora and fauna of Sherwood Forest. 

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The project, supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, has been a creative way to engage young people in Nottinghamshire with the natural landscape and local history, and ties into the school’s namesake Joseph Whitaker, an esteemed naturalist and botanist. 

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This latest project was inspired by the Miner2Major’s Rainworth Heath arrow sculpture, commissioned in 2022 and installed at the nature site in Spring 2023. Pupils from the eco-club at Joseph Whitaker and Dawn House school worked with Richard on the sculpture for the nature reserve, which follows with linked artworks at both schools.

Joining the celebration were avian ambassadors and local charity Woodies Wings Rescue, who brought along some feathered friends for the students to interact with.  The children were treated to an up-close encounter with species including Tawny, Barn, White-Faced, Snowy, and Eurasian Eagle Owls. 

“We are grateful to Miner2Major for providing our students with the opportunity to work with the sculptor Richard James. This sculpture has already become part of our school landscape and the students selected had an unforgettable experience meeting real owls for the unveiling of the sculpture.  Our partnership with Miner2Major has brought exciting new learning experiences for our students, allowing them to connect and engage with Nottinghamshire’s heritage landscape in valuable ways”. 

Rachel Souter, Deputy Head Curriculum Intent and Implementation at Joseph Whitaker School

“We're thrilled to see the culmination of the pupils’ hard work and creative efforts in this wonderful owl sculpture, it's a tribute to the rich biodiversity of our surroundings and a nod to Joseph Whitaker's enduring passion for nature.”

Steve Little, Scheme Manager of Miner2Major

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