PUPILS at a Rhondda school found out about bird boxes and watched as boxes were put in place.

Children from Ferndale Infants School flocked to see bird boxes being placed in trees in their local park. Staff from Rhondda Cynon Taf's Countryside section gave the pupils a talk about birds before leading a walk to the park to install the boxes - which will become home to birds and bats.

The children also did a spot of birdwatching - seeing blackbirds, ducks and robins, and hearing woodpeckers and blue tits -during the event at Darran Park, held during National Bird Box week. Local councillor Annette Davies joined the pupils, who will be returning to see how many feathered friends have winged their way in to the boxes.

Cllr Davies said: "As well as being a lovely event for the children, this is a great example of the environmental work going on in the area. Along with the improvements being made in the town centre such as parking and the streetscape, this demonstrates the level of regeneration that is happening in Ferndale."

A range of environmental improvement work is currently being carried out in Darran Park, with funding from the Heads of the Valley initiative.

Launched by the Welsh Assembly Government in September 2004, the 15-year regeneration strategy has been developed in full partnership with five local authorities - Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen.

The Heads of the Valley initiative is tackling the root causes of economic inactivity and other key issues in the area.

Aimed at stimulating regeneration, economic growth, and environmental improvement, the £140 million programme is making the Heads of the Valleys an increasingly successful and attractive area for people to live and work in.

The programme aims to create: An attractive and well-used natural, historic and built environment A vibrant economic landscape offering new opportunities A well-educated, skilled and healthier population An appealing and coherent tourism and leisure experience Public confidence in a shared bright future